Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Abstract To effectively protect and manage marine mammals, contemporary information on their abundance and distribution is essential. Several factors influence present-day insight including the accessibility of the study area and the degree of difficulty in locating and studying target species. The offshore waters of the Gulf of Alaska are important habitat to a variety of cetaceans yet have remained largely unsurveyed due to its remote location, vast geographic area, and challenging environmental conditions.

Understanding cetacean behavioral reactions to anthropogenic sound is critical for designing appropriate management strategies to predict and mitigate adverse behavioural responses to noise. Foraging behavior is of particular interest, since energetic balance is closely linked to fitness and reproductive success. In order to quantify changes in sperm whale echolocation-based foraging behavior in response to sound, we studied sperm whales equipped with DTAGs, multi-sensor tags that record sound as well as dive depth and movements.

Nurturant behavior toward dead conspecifics has been documented in several free-ranging marine and terrestrial mammals but still remains undocumented and poorly understood for most species. This study describes observations of adults carrying dead calves and juveniles in 7 odontocetes (toothed cetaceans) species and discusses the subject in mammals in general.

In 2014 a study was initiated off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to examine the spatial use and diving behavior of a number of species of odontocetes, with particular emphasis on Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus).

Aerial surveys and satellite and archival tags were used to test the effect of the ATOC sound source on marine mammals around the Pioneer Seamount 85 km west of San Francisco, California. Control surveys were flown at least 48 h after the end of any previous transmission cycle and experimental surveys were flown after at least 24 h of sound transmissions. Sound transmissions consisted of 20‐min periods of 195‐dB, that is, 1‐μP transmission repeated very 4 h.