Killer whale presence in relation to naval sonar activity and prey abundance in northern Norway

Sanna Kuningas*, Petter H. Kvadsheim, Frans-Peter A. Lam, Patrick J. O. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, retrospective data on naval sonar activity and prey abundance were correlated with killer whale sightings within a fjord basin in northern Norway. In addition, passive acoustic and visual marine mammal surveys were conducted before, during, and after a specific navy exercise in 2006. Herring abundance was the main factor affecting killer whale presence. Naval sonar, either operational navy sonar exercises (Flotex) or experimental sonar activity (CEE) alone, did not explain killer whale occurrence. However, naval sonar activity during a period of low prey availability seemed to have had a negative effect on killer whale presence. We conclude that the level of reaction to sonar can be influenced by multiple factors, including availability of prey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1293
Number of pages7
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume70
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • displacement
  • herring
  • killer whale
  • navy
  • Norway
  • Orcinus orca
  • sonar
  • whale-watching
  • BEHAVIORAL-RESPONSES
  • ORCINUS-ORCA
  • DISTURBANCE
  • STRANDINGS
  • STIMULI
  • SOUNDS
  • KHZ

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