Marina Bozinovic

San Francisco State University

“Assessing noise exposure to beaked and sperm whales in the California Current”

Beaked whales (Ziphiidae) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are threatened by increased sound levels in the ocean due to increased human activity, but the extent of harm is unclear. This research characterizes the spatiotemporal patterns of noise exposure in relation to acoustic detections of beaked and sperm whale in the California Current Ecosystem.

ABSTRACT

Sound levels in the ocean are increasing due to increasing shipping and offshore human activity. Beaked whales (Ziphiidae) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are among the species at risk of harm from noise pollution. They rely on acoustic signaling for basic life functions, but the extent of harm from anthropogenic activity is unclear as little is known about these visually cryptic and deep diving whales. Passive acoustic monitoring is a non-invasive tool to monitor distribution, behavior, and abundance of these species when visual data collection methods fall short. This research characterizes the spatiotemporal patterns and extent of noise exposure in relation to acoustic detections of beaked and sperm whales in the California Current Ecosystem. By examining the environmental conditions and vessel tracks present along a drifting buoy’s path when whales were detected, we can improve our understanding of the spatial and temporal variations in a soundscape that drive beaked and sperm whale distributions.
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