Assessing and managing acoustic disturbance to bowhead whales in the Canadian Arctic
Scientists of WCS Canada have obtained funding through the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk (CNFASAR) to conduct a collaborative project focusing on bowhead whale research in the Canadian Arctic. The proposed postdoctoral project is a main part of the CNFASAR project and aims to assess how bowhead whales react to underwater noise so that risks from human activities, particularly ship-related, can be managed effectively. This project will examine how whales respond to different levels and types of ship noise and naturally occurring noise through an experiment where sound recordings are played underwater to whales fitted with a tag that records sound and movement. The tag records what the whale hears and also can be used to reconstruct a 3D path of each whale's movement. This can be used to measure how a whale changes its behaviour in response to noise, and the noise level associated with a change in behaviour can be estimated.