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Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals in the Chukchi Sea

Goal: To gather acoustic data as part of the Joint Monitoring Program to monitor the effects of oil production and exploration on marine mammals

Our Role: To conduct passive acoustic surveys using a towed hydrophone array

Time Period: Summer/Fall 2006

Synopsis:

Our first field research project since incorporation in 2006, Bio-Waves participated in vessel-based surveys conducted in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, in the Arctic. This effort was sponsored by Joint Monitoring Program, a collaboration between a consortium of oil production and exploration companies and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  The goal of these surveys was to monitor marine mammal occurrence and distribution, and to determine the potential effects of offshore seismic operations on marine mammals. Complementary visual and passive acoustic methods were used during line-transect surveys conducted several times throughout the season in regions where seismic operations for oil exploration were planned to occur later that season. The species of primary concern was the bowhead whale, which uses these highly productive areas to feed during the summer and fall. Bio-Waves custom designed a towed hydrophone array system for this project and provided personnel to operate the system. Despite the harsh environmental conditions encountered during this survey, the towed array system performed well through each of the project's segments.

Partners: LGL Ltd. Cornell University.

Sponsors: Joint Monitoring Program, NOAA

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