Energy Projects

Acoustic Tracking Of Sperm Whales In The Northern GOM

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. provided towed passive acoustic monitoring equipment and personnel in support of an ongoing tagging survey of sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus. The survey was designed to locate and tag groups of sperm whales in order to apply satellite telemetry tags. Due to the wide-ranging nature and prolonged diving capabilities of sperm whales, acoustics were used to locate and stay with sperm whales so that the telemetry tags could be affixed via a small vessel. Sperm whales have a unique vocal pattern in that they echolocate, or “click,” nearly continuously while submerged, but cease clicking upon surfacing. Acoustic tracking is used to direct the tagging boat to the whales through these clicks and alert visual observers to the location of the whales as the clicking stops. This affords the tag boat the greatest opportunity to approach the whales as they surface.

This project demonstrates CSA Ocean Sciences Inc.’s ability to support an important oil and gas industry related research initiatives. The role of superior data standards is critical to maintaining unbiased integrity in any operation, whether it is commercial or academic. During the conduct of this project, CSA Ocean Sciences Inc.’s marine mammal team fully integrated stringent Health, Safety, Security, and Environment and industry standard protocols on board while maintaining equally stringent scientific research standards.


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