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J Acoust Soc Am. 2000 Oct;108(4):1930-7.

Behavioral responses of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to full-scale ATOC signals.

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Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program, Ithaca, New York 14850, USA.


Loud (195 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m) 75-Hz signals were broadcast with an ATOC projector to measure ocean temperature. Respiratory and movement behaviors of humpback whales off North Kauai, Hawaii, were examined for potential changes in response to these transmissions and to vessels. Few vessel effects were observed, but there were fewer vessels operating during this study than in previous years. No overt responses to ATOC were observed for received levels of 98-109 dB re 1 microPa. An analysis of covariance, using the no-sound behavioral rate as a covariate to control for interpod variation, found that the distance and time between successive surfacings of humpbacks increased slightly with an increase in estimated received ATOC sound level. These responses are very similar to those observed in response to scaled-amplitude playbacks of ATOC signals [Frankel and Clark, Can. J. Zool. 76, 521-535 (1998)]. These similar results were obtained with different sound projectors, in different years and locations, and at different ranges creating a different sound field. The repeatability of the findings for these two different studies indicates that these effects, while small, are robust. This suggests that at least for the ATOC signal, the received sound level is a good predictor of response.

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