Acoustics: a tool to reveal the behaviour of the elusive blue whale.
Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is a cost-effective method to passively monitor vocal marine mammals over large spatial and temporal scales. It is a not limited by direct field access to animals, is not weather or daylight dependant, and has proven a powerful tool in revealing distribution and movement patterns, in particular for highly migratory marine mammals. The blue whale is the largest animal on earth, yet their elusive behaviour, pelagic habitat, extensive migrations and low population densities, make field studies difficult. In the past, knowledge about their distribution was derived from whaling records, but in recent years PAM has been used to outline spatial and temporal occurrence and infer migration patterns and habitat use.
Knowing the variability of a species in time and space is important for appropriate and up to date, species management and conservation. This study will use species specific calls to detect the occurrence of blue whales and investigate their spatial and temporal behaviour, and also highlight the power of PAM as conservation tool to study and monitor elusive vocal taxa.
Supervisor: Associate Professor Tracey Rogers
Co-Supervisor: Dr Holger Klinck (Oregon State University/NOAA)