Response of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to ramp-up of a small experimental air gun array

Dunlop, Rebecca A., Noad, Michael J., McCauley, Robert D., Kniest, Eric, Slade, Robert, Paton, David and Cato, Douglas H. (2016) Response of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to ramp-up of a small experimental air gun array. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 103 1-2: 72-83. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.044


Author Dunlop, Rebecca A.
Noad, Michael J.
McCauley, Robert D.
Kniest, Eric
Slade, Robert
Paton, David
Cato, Douglas H.
Title Response of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to ramp-up of a small experimental air gun array
Formatted title
Response of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to ramp-up of a small experimental air gun array
Journal name Marine Pollution Bulletin   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-3363
0025-326X
Publication date 2016-02-15
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.044
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 103
Issue 1-2
Start page 72
End page 83
Total pages 12
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract ‘Ramp-up’, or ‘soft start’, is a mitigation measure used in seismic surveys and involves increasing the radiated sound level over 20–40 min. This study compared the behavioural response in migrating humpback whales to the first stages of ramp-up with the response to a ‘constant’ source, ‘controls’ (in which the array was towed but not operated) with groups in the absence of the source vessel used as the ‘baseline’. Although the behavioural response, in most groups, resulted in an increase in distance from the source (potential avoidance), there was no evidence that either ‘ramp-up’ or the constant source at a higher level was superior for triggering whales to move away from the source vessel. ‘Control’ groups also responded suggesting the presence of the source vessel had some effect. However, the majority of groups appeared to avoid the source vessel at distances greater than the radius of most mitigation zones.
Keyword Seismic ramp-up
Seismic mitigation
Acoustic exposure
Behavioural response
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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