Palau Cetacean Survey

Goal: To provide the Republic of Palau with information about their marine mammal populations, to aid in marine conservation efforts

Time Period: 2012

Our Role: To provide passive acoustic equipment and a researcher to collect passive acoustic data on any vocally active marine mammals encountered.

Bio-Waves, Inc. played an important role in the design and implementation of passive acoustic operations for the Palau Cetacean Survey. This survey was the first in a two-part study conducted to investigate the presence and status of the previously undocumented marine mammal populations in the newly declared Palau Marine Mammal Sanctuary. Bio-Waves researchers contributed and operated a towed hydrophone array system to monitor for marine mammals during a line transect survey. These data were used to supplement data collected from visual survey efforts in order to get a more accurate representation of the marine mammal species present. During the survey, Bio-Waves researchers and their collaborators were able to identify several species of marine mammals, such as sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris), spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata), melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra) and pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata). Sperm whales and dolphins were detected using passive acoustic monitoring alone on two occasions, during which sightings were not made. The information collected during this study provided some of the first systematically collected information about the marine mammal populations in these waters. This information is being used in living marine resource management and conservation efforts by the Republic of Palau and for management of the Palau Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

Collaborators: Whales Alive and the Australian Marine Mammal Center

Sponsor: The Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), Whales Alive, the Australian Marine Mammal Center, and Bio-Waves, Inc. (in kind equipment)

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