The behavioural response of migrating humpback whales to a full seismic airgun array

Dunlop, Rebecca A, Noad, Michael J, McCauley, Robert D, Kniest, Eric, Slade, Robert, Paton, David and Cato, Douglas H (2017) The behavioural response of migrating humpback whales to a full seismic airgun array. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 284 1869: 1-10. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1901

Author Dunlop, Rebecca A
Noad, Michael J
McCauley, Robert D
Kniest, Eric
Slade, Robert
Paton, David
Cato, Douglas H
Title The behavioural response of migrating humpback whales to a full seismic airgun array
Journal name Proceedings. Biological sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2954
Publication date 2017-12-13
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2017.1901
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 284
Issue 1869
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
2400 Immunology and Microbiology
2300 Environmental Science
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Despite concerns on the effects of noise from seismic survey airguns on marine organisms, there remains uncertainty as to the biological significance of any response. This study quantifies and interprets the response of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to a 3130 in3 (51.3l) commercial airgun array. We compare the behavioural responses to active trials (array operational; n = 34 whale groups), with responses to control trials (source vessel towing the array while silent; n = 33) and baseline studies of normal behaviour in the absence of the vessel (n = 85). No abnormal behaviours were recorded during the trials. However, in response to the active seismic array and the controls, the whales displayed changes in behaviour. Changes in respiration rate were of a similar magnitude to changes in baseline groups being joined by other animals suggesting any change group energetics was within their behavioural repertoire. However, the reduced progression southwards in response to the active treatments, for some cohorts, was below typical migratory speeds. This response was more likely to occur within 4 km from the array at received levels over 135 dB re 1 µPa2s.
Keyword anthropogenic noise
behavioural response study
biological significance
humpback whale
seismic airgun
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Created: Wed, 20 Dec 2017, 12:15:49 EST