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Harderwijk, Netherlands

Neo Y.Y.,Leiden University | Seitz J.,Leiden University | Kastelein R.A.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Winter H.V.,Wageningen University | And 2 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2014

Human activities in and around waters generate a substantial amount of underwater noise, which may negatively affect aquatic life including fish. In order to better predict and assess the consequences of the variety of anthropogenic sounds, it is essential to examine what sound features contribute to an impact. In this study, we tested if sounds with different temporal structure resulted in different behavioural changes in European seabass. Groups of four fish were exposed in an outdoor basin to a series of four sound treatments, which were either continuous or intermittent, with either consistent or fluctuating amplitude. The behavioural changes of the fish were analyzed by a video-tracking system. All sound treatments elicited similar behavioural changes, including startle responses, increased swimming speed, increased group cohesion and bottom diving. However, with all other sound conditions being the same, intermittent exposure resulted in significantly slower behavioural recovery to pre-exposure levels compared to continuous exposure. Our findings imply that the temporal structure of sound is highly relevant in noise impact assessments: intermittent sounds, such as from pile driving, may have a stronger behavioural impact on fish than continuous sounds, such as from drilling, even though the latter may have higher total accumulated energy. This study urges regulatory authorities and developers to pay more attention to the influence of temporal structure when assessing noise impacts. However, more studies are needed to examine other sound parameters and to determine the generality of our observations in other species and in other outdoor water bodies. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Kastelein R.A.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Hoek L.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | De Jong C.A.F.,TNO | Wensveen P.J.,Andrews University
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2010

The underwater hearing sensitivity of a young male harbor porpoise for tonal signals of various signal durations was quantified by using a behavioral psychophysical technique. The animal was trained to respond only when it detected an acoustic signal. Fifty percent detection thresholds were obtained for tonal signals (15 frequencies between 0.25-160 kHz, durations 0.5-5000 ms depending on the frequency; 134 frequency-duration combinations in total). Detection thresholds were quantified by varying signal amplitude by the 1-up 1-down staircase method. The hearing thresholds increased when the signal duration fell below the time constant of integration. The time constants, derived from an exponential model of integration [Plomp and Bouman, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 31, 749-758 (1959)], varied from 629 ms at 2 kHz to 39 ms at 64 kHz. The integration times of the porpoises were similar to those of other mammals including humans, even though the porpoise is a marine mammal and a hearing specialist. The results enable more accurate estimations of the distances at which porpoises can detect short-duration environmental tonal signals. The audiogram thresholds presented by Kastelein [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 112, 334-344 (2002)], after correction for the frequency bandwidth of the FM signals, are similar to the results of the present study for signals of 1500 ms duration. Harbor porpoise hearing is more sensitive between 2 and 10 kHz, and less sensitive above 10 kHz, than formerly believed. © 2010 Acoustical Society of America.

Kastelein R.A.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Hoek L.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | De Jong C.A.F.,TNO
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2011

The distance at which active naval sonar signals can be heard by harbor porpoises depends, among other factors, on the hearing thresholds of the species for those signals. Therefore the hearing sensitivity of a harbor porpoise was determined for 1 s up-sweep and down-sweep signals, mimicking mid-frequency and low-frequency active sonar sweeps (MFAS, 6-7 kHz band; LFAS, 1-2 kHz band). The 1-2 kHz sweeps were also tested with harmonics, as sonars sometimes produce these as byproducts of the fundamental signal. The hearing thresholds for up-sweeps and down-sweeps within each sweep pair were similar. The 50% detection threshold sound pressure levels (broadband, averaged over the signal duration) of the 1-2 kHz and 6-7 kHz sweeps were 75 and 67 dB re 1 μPa 2, respectively. Harmonic deformation of the 1-2 kHz sweeps reduced the threshold to 59 dB re 1 μPa 2. This study shows that the presence of harmonics in sonar signals can increase the detectability of a signal by harbor porpoises, and that tonal audiograms may not accurately predict the audibility of sweeps. LFAS systems, when designed to produce signals without harmonics, can operate at higher source levels than MFAS systems, at similar audibility distances for porpoises. © 2011 Acoustical Society of America.

Kastelein R.A.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Hoek L.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | De Jong C.A.F.,TNO
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2011

Helicopter long range active sonar (HELRAS), a dipping sonar system used by lowering transducer and receiver arrays into water from helicopters, produces signals within the functional hearing range of many marine animals, including the harbor porpoise. The distance at which the signals can be heard is unknown, and depends, among other factors, on the hearing sensitivity of the species to these particular signals. Therefore, the hearing thresholds of a harbor porpoise for HELRAS signals were quantified by means of a psychophysical technique. Detection thresholds were obtained for five 1.25 s simulated HELRAS signals, varying in their harmonic content and amplitude envelopes. The 50 hearing thresholds for the different signals were similar: 76 dB re 1 μPa (broadband sound pressure level, averaged over the signal duration). The detection thresholds were similar to those found in the same porpoise for tonal signals in the 1-2 kHz range measured in a previous study. Harmonic distortion, which occurred in three of the five signals, had little influence on their audibility. The results of this study, combined with information on the source level of the signal, the propagation conditions and ambient noise levels, allow the calculation of accurate estimates of the distances at which porpoises can detect HELRAS signals. © 2011 Acoustical Society of America.

Kastelein R.A.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Gransier R.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Gransier R.,Catholic University of Leuven | Marijt M.A.T.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO | Hoek L.,Sea Mammal Research Company SEAMARCO
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2015

Harbor porpoises may suffer hearing loss when exposed to intense sounds. After exposure to playbacks of broadband pile driving sounds for 60 min, the temporary hearing threshold shift (TTS) of a porpoise was quantified at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 63, and 125 kHz with a psychoacoustic technique. Details of the pile driving sounds were as follows: pulse duration 124 ms, rate 2760 strikes/h, inter-pulse interval 1.3 s, average received single strike unweighted sound exposure level (SEL) 146 dB re 1 μPa2 s (cumulative SEL: 180 dB re 1 μPa2 s). Statistically significant TTS only occurred at 4 and 8 kHz; mean TTS (1-4 min. after sound exposure stopped) was 2.3 dB at 4 kHz, and 3.6 dB at 8 kHz; recovery occurred within 48 min. This study shows that exposure to multiple impulsive sounds with most of their energy in the low frequencies can cause reduced hearing at higher frequencies in harbor porpoises. The porpoise's hearing threshold for the frequency in the range of its echolocation signals was not affected by the pile driving playback sounds. © 2015 Acoustical Society of America.

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