Interactive Marine Mammal Communications
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215 Parkway North, P.O. Box 280, Waterford, CT, 06385
AbstractA series of whale strandings have been correlated to the operation of naval medium-frequency active sonars. The goal of the Sonalysts and WhaleAcoustics research is to determine how to protect marine mammals, particularly beaked whales, while allowing the Navy to conduct sonar training. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) makes it harder to study the problem. We propose to analyze passively recorded data gathered by High-Frequency Acoustic Recording Packages (HARPs) placed at 300 m and 1000 m depth at the Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE). These types of continuous broadband recordings have been shown to include the pings of active sonars and communicative calls produced by identifiable species of cetaceans. Correlating the occurrence of these sounds with possible changes in the animal's acoustic communication calls and travel directions will provide insights on methods for beaked whale detection, abundance in SCORE, as well as how to safely clear an exercise area of cetaceans. The result of these analyses could impact future Environmental Impact Statements filed by the Navy with the National Marine Fisheries Service for sonar test ranges and could be brought into court in the continuing legal challenges to the use of Navy sonar under the MMPA.
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