Detailed studies on the response of marine mammals to anthropogenic noise are challenging due to the short surface time and deep-diving lifestyle of many species. Passive acoustic observations represent an opportunity for estimating size/density of marine mammals and for mitigation of potentially harmful effects from anthropogenic stressors. This is due to their ability to detect diving marine animals in poor weather conditions and during day/night periods. The data that will be analysed in this project has been collected in the GLIDER project (financed by the RCN DEMO 2000 and ConocoPhillips). Two autonomous underwater vehicles (gliders) equipped with a hydrophone were used to passively scan an area for marine mammal’ vocalization and anthropogenic sound. The gliders acquired marine data from March to August 2018, in the LoVe area. The volume of the passive acoustic data alone is superior to 1 TB, containing signals of natural and anthropogenic origin over a broad acoustic frequency range, acquired throughout the deployments at various water depths. Preliminary manual analysis of the passive acoustic data revealed a high number of vocalizations of marine mammals and strong presence of anthropogenic noise such as ship traffic and fisheries activity. Furthermore, the hydrophones recorded seismic shooting in the surveyed area. Thus, this project aims to explore whether continuous underwater recordings from the LoVe area can be used to detect potential acoustic responses by marine mammals to anthropogenic noise. The results will provide new information on the sensitivity of marine mammals to human activities in Arctic Norway. In addition to scientific dissemination the results will also be communicated to the user-groups to increase public awareness on the impact of marine noise.
Project manager: Luca Tassara
Project code: 312019