Addressing Challenges in Studies of Behavioral Responses of Whales to Noise

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;875:145-52. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_17.


Studying the behavioral response of whales to noise presents numerous challenges. In addition to the characteristics of the noise exposure, many factors may affect the response and these must be measured and accounted for in the analysis. An adequate sample size that includes matching controls is crucial if meaningful results are to be obtained. Field work is thus complicated, logistically difficult, and expensive. This paper discusses some of the challenges and how they are being met in a large-scale multiplatform project in which humpback whales are exposed to the noise of seismic air guns.

Keywords: Behavioral response; Impacts of noise; Seismic; Underwater noise; Whales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Humpback Whale / physiology*
  • Noise*
  • Ships