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Hearing thresholds of a harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) for playbacks of seal scarer signals, and effects of the signals on behavior
Kastelein, R.A.; Hoek, L.; Gransier, R.; de Jong, C.A.F.; Terhune, J.M.; Jennings, N. (2015). Hearing thresholds of a harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) for playbacks of seal scarer signals, and effects of the signals on behavior. Hydrobiologia 756(1): 89-103. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10750-014-2035-x
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Kastelein, R.A.
  • Hoek, L.
  • Gransier, R.
  • de Jong, C.A.F.
  • Terhune, J.M.
  • Jennings, N.

Abstract
    Acoustic Mitigation Devices (AMDs) are used to deter marine mammals from construction sites, in order to prevent hearing injury by offshore pile driving noise. To estimate the distance at which two AMDs designed as ‘seal scarers’ (Ace Aquatec and Lofitech) are detected by harbor porpoises, the 50% hearing detection thresholds for playbacks of recordings of the AMD sounds were assessed. Both became audible at a received broadband sound pressure level (SPL) of 55 dB re 1 µPa. The effect of the AMDs on porpoise behavior was quantified at three SPLs determined during a pre-test: one which just did not cause a behavioral change, one which caused a small change in surfacing and swimming pattern, and one which caused the harbor porpoise to swim away from the transducers. The corresponding mean received SPLs in the pool were respectively: Ace Aquatec: 77, 117, and 139 dB re 1 µPa; and: Lofitech: 91, 121, and 151 dB re 1 µPa. As the mean received SPL increased, greater displacement occurred, and higher numbers of surfacings and increased swimming speed occurred in test periods than in associated baseline periods. By combining these results with the source level, the current local propagation conditions and the background noise, the deterring distance at sea for the AMDs can be calculated.

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