In the Southern Ocean, Antarctic blue whales and fin whales were severely depleted during commercial whaling. To monitor the post-exploitation status of both species in this remote area, the Acoustic Trends Working Group has proposed the use of a circum-Antarctic network of passive acoustic recorders.
The Blue and Fin Whale Acoustic Trends Project (ATP) has continued to develop and mature a long-term acoustic research program to understand trends in Southern Ocean blue and fin whale distribution, seasonal presence, and population growth through the use of passive acoustic monitoring techniques. This international collaboration has continued to deliver:
This working group contributes to the SOOS Science Priority Theme 6, impacts of global change on Southern Ocean ecosystems and was approved in 2017 with a proposed finish in 2019.
Planned Products and Outcomes
As per the strategic plan 2017-2020: The project will not only continue to expand spatial and temporal coverage of data collection, but also focus on improving data collection with a view towards testing links among acoustical, biological, and ecological trends. Testing these links will likely require dedicated ship time to deploy acoustic recording tags on animals, and/or a combined visual and acoustic survey. However, such studies could add tremendous value to the long-term data collected by the moored acoustic recorders of the SOHN.
A new analysis framework has been designed and agreed upon, its implementation is expected to occur over the next three years. This new analysis framework will be more general and less proscriptive than the group’s previous vision for a ‘Blueprint of Analysis Methods.” However, the new analysis framework affords more flexibility, which is required to address the wide variety of instruments, duty cycles, sites, and detection algorithms that contribute data to this project. Implementation of this framework will require additional resources, ideally in the form of a 2-year postdoctoral researcher. Funding for such a position has been sought from SORP and Universidad de Concepcion, with supervision and in-kind contributions provided by the project steering group.
The new analysis framework requires and will build upon the Annotated Library of Recordings. Work on the Annotated Library will be ongoing throughout 2017/18 with the aim of creating a fit-for-purpose tool to assess the performance of automated detection algorithms for blue and fin whale calls across a wide variety of recordings made in different years, locations, and using different instruments.
AT is open membership. If you would like to be involved, please contact Brian Miller (Brian.Miller at aad.gov.au).
Flore Samaran (Coordinator, ENSTA Bretagne, France)
Kate Stafford (Coordinator, University of Washington, USA)
Working Group Members:
Susannah Buchan (Universidad de Concepcion, Chile)
Ken Findlay (University of Technology, South Africa)
Danielle Harris (University of St Andrews, UK)
Brian Miller (Australian Antarctic Division, Australia)
Ilse Van Opzeeland (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)
Ana irović (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA)
|2016-ongoing||Annotated library of acoustic detections||SORP Acoustic Trends Steering Committee|
|2017-2018||Antarctic data collection (>60°S)/Southern Ocean Hydrophone Network: 2017/18||AT Working Group Members|
|2017-ongoing||PhD - Analysis of bioacoustic data recorded in the southern Indian Ocean||Maelle Torterotot, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM)|
|2018||ENRICH Voyage||Ana Širović and Kathleen Stafford|
|2018||Masters - Analysis of passive acoustic recordings from Elephant Island||Lisa Ganz, University of Bremen - Alfred-Wegener Institute (AWI)|
|2018-2019||Low-latitude data collection||AT Working Group Members|