You are invited to the next edition of the SMM Editors’ Select Webinar Series. This series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn, and ask questions. All are welcome!
Join us on Thursday December 14th 2023 at 5 pm AST / 9 pm GMT
for the next SMM Editors’ Select Series Webinar:
Narwhal calling rate changes in association with passing ships in Milne Inlet, Nunavut, Canada
with Crystal Radtke
About this talk:
Concerns were raised about possible behavioural disturbance to narwhals (Monodon monoceros) when exposed to shipping noise in Milne Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. It is known that marine mammals often change their behaviours especially their vocalizations, around ships. With the use of underwater recordings operating continuously over two months (in 2018 and 2019), narwhal vocalizations in Milne Inlet were analyzed. Narwhals produce three social call types, whistles, buzzes and knocks. The calling rates of each call type were determined when no ships were present and during ship transits in a before-during-after analysis. Narwhal call counts were generally lower when bulk carriers were within line-of-sight (5 km), including when ship noise levels were barely above background noise levels. Call counts varied both “before” and “after” individual bulk carriers passed by the recorders. There was no evidence of habituation or sensitization to the bulk carrier noise within or between years. Continued monitoring in this area is recommended, especially if shipping levels increase.
About the presenter:
Crystal studied at the University of New Brunswick, in Saint John, NB, Canada for undergraduate and graduate studies. Her honours project was on the underwater soundscape of Mawson Station, Antarctica and the impacts this could have on the masking of Weddell seal calls. Her masters thesis was on the classification of narwhal calls and the changes in calling rates in association with passing ships. She has also volunteered with various organizations (Bimini Biological Field Station, Dolphin Communication Project and Operation Wallacea) for marine mammal, fish and marine invertebrate studies.
Open access to this article is made temporarily available in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here. Current SMM members have access to all Marine Mammal Science papers.
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