Determining the behavioural dose-response relationship of marine mammals to air gun noise and source proximity

Dunlop, Rebecca A., Noad, Michael J., McCauley, Robert D., Scott-Hayward, Lindsay, Kniest, Eric, Slade, Robert, Paton, David and Cato, Douglas H. (2017) Determining the behavioural dose-response relationship of marine mammals to air gun noise and source proximity. Journal of Experimental Biology, 220 16: 2878-2886. doi:10.1242/jeb.160192


Author Dunlop, Rebecca A.
Noad, Michael J.
McCauley, Robert D.
Scott-Hayward, Lindsay
Kniest, Eric
Slade, Robert
Paton, David
Cato, Douglas H.
Title Determining the behavioural dose-response relationship of marine mammals to air gun noise and source proximity
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
1477-9145
Publication date 2017-08-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.160192
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 220
Issue 16
Start page 2878
End page 2886
Total pages 9
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Company of Biologists
Language eng
Subject 2700 Medicine
1314 Physiology
1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
1104 Aquatic Science
1312 Molecular Biology
1103 Animal Science and Zoology
1109 Insect Science
Abstract The effect of various anthropogenic sources of noise (e.g. sonar, seismic surveys) on the behaviour of marine mammals is sometimes quantified as a dose-response relationship, where the probability of an animal behaviourally 'responding' (e.g. avoiding the source) increases with 'dose' (or received level of noise). To do this, however, requires a definition of a 'significant' response (avoidance), which can be difficult to quantify. There is also the potential that the animal 'avoids' not only the source of noise but also the vessel operating the source, complicating the relationship. The proximity of the source is an important variable to consider in the response, yet difficult to account for given that received level and proximity are highly correlated. This study used the behavioural response of humpback whales to noise from two different air gun arrays (20 and 140 cubic inch air gun array) to determine whether a dose-response relationship existed. To do this, a measure of avoidance of the source was developed, and the magnitude (rather than probability) of this response was tested against dose. The proximity to the source, and the vessel itself, was included within the one-analysis model. Humpback whales were more likely to avoid the air gun arrays (but not the controls) within 3 km of the source at levels over 140 re. 1 μPa s, meaning that both the proximity and the received level were important factors and the relationship between dose (received level) and response is not a simple one.
Keyword Anthropogenic noise
Behavioural response study
Humpback whale
Received level
Seismic air gun
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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