Data from: First direct measurements of behavioural responses by Cuvier’s beaked whales to mid-frequency active sonar
DeRuiter, Stacy L. et al. (2013), Data from: First direct measurements of behavioural responses by Cuvier’s beaked whales to mid-frequency active sonar, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n77k3
Most marine mammal strandings coincident with naval sonar exercises have involved Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris). We recorded acoustic and animal movement data on two tagged Ziphius and obtained the first direct measurements of behavioural responses of this species to mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar signals. Each recording included a 30-minute playback (one 1.6-s simulated MFA sonar signal repeated every 25 s); one whale was also incidentally exposed to MFA sonar from distant naval exercises. Whales responded strongly to playbacks at low received levels (89-127 dB re1µPa): after ceasing normal fluking and echolocation, they swam rapidly, silently away, extending both dive duration and subsequent non-foraging interval. Distant sonar exercises (78-106 dB re 1 µPa) did not elicit such responses, suggesting that context may moderate reactions. The observed responses to playback occurred at received levels well below current regulatory thresholds; equivalent responses to operational sonars could elevate stranding risk and reduce foraging efficiency.
Southern California Bight