The effects of seismic surveying and environmental variables on deep diving odontocete stranding rates along Ireland’s coast

Ryan Mc Geady, Barry J. McMahon, Simon Berrow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Abstract

Most deep diving toothed whales rarely come into contact with humans due to their preference for deep offshore waters. In recent years many studies have connected underwater acoustic disturbances with unusual stranding events of deep diving species. Strandings can provide a valuable opportunity to learn
about the ecology of stranded specimens and investigate the cause of mortality. The study determines how environmental and anthropogenic variables such as sea surface temperature, wave height, wave period, wind direction and seismic surveying can influence strandings events of deep diving odontocetes. The
results of these analyses suggest that the occurrence of offshore seismic surveying operations increase the number of strandings of long-finned pilot whales, which are probably the most abundant deep diving species in the north Atlantic. The study also demonstrates the value of cetacean stranding schemes and how they can be utilised to establish the natural and anthropogenic processes that contribute to stranding events.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2016

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