Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Species >> Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

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.

SOCAL‐10 was a scientific research project conducted in Aug‐Sept 2010 in the Southern California Bight. The overall objective was to provide a better understanding of marine mammal behavior, while providing direct scientific data for the Navy and regulatory agencies to estimate risk and minimize adverse effects of human sounds, particularly military sonar.

Cascadia responded to 81 cetacean strandings of at least 11 species during the grant period. These documented the post UME rate of mortality in gray whales which showed low levels of mortality in the years immediately following a major mortality event in 1999-2000 but which was slightly elevated above average in 2005 and 2006. We documented a continued occurrence of fin whale mortalities related to ship strikes.