US Navy

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Marine Species Monitoring

Atlantic Region: Current Projects


 


Atlantic Fleet Training & Testing Monitoring Projects

 

The table below summarizes marine species monitoring projets being conducted in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in support of Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Marine Mammal Protection Act requirements (50 CFR Part 218).  Reports and data from these projects will be made available on the individual project profile pages and the Reading Room as they become available.

Project titles link directly to individual project profile pages with additional details and access to data and reports.


*Intermediate Scientific Objectives are established in coordination with NMFS through the Strategic Planning Process to help prioritize monitoring investments

Project Description Intermediate Scientific Objective* Status
Title: Mid-Atlantic Humpback Whale Monitoring

Location: Nearshore Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Assess ocurrence, habitat use, and baseline behavior of humpback whales in the mid-Atlantic region

Methods: Focal follow observational methods, photo ID, biopsy sampling, satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc.

Timeline: 2015-2017 - anticipated 3 field seasons

Funding: FY14 - $320k, FY15 - $260K, FY16 - $370K, FY17 - TBD

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Year 3 field work in progress

Satelite tagging component added 2015/16 field season
Title: Seal Tagging and Tracking in Virginia

Location: Lower Chesapeake Bay (Hampton Roads)

Objectives: Document habitat use, movement and haul-out patterns of seals in the Hampton Roads region of Chesapeake Bay and coastal Atlantic Ocean

Methods: Photo ID, tagging

Performing Organizations: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation

Timeline: 2016-2017

Funding: FY16 - $40k

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Field work winter 2016-2017

Title: Baseline Monitoring for Marine Mammals in the East Coast Range Complexes (aerial surveys)

Location: Atlantic OPAREAs

Objectives: Assess occurrence, habitat associations, and density of marine mammals and sea turtles in key areas of Navy range complexes

Methods: Visual surveys (aerial)

Performing Organizations: UNC Wilmington, CREEM - University of St. Andrews

Timeline: Ongoing

Funding: FY13 - $685k, FY14 - $375k, FY15 - $808k, FY16 - $368k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and sea turtles are present in Navy range complexes

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Determine what populations of marine mammals are exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Ongoing

Title: Baseline Monitoring for Marine Mammals in the East Coast Range Complexes (vessel surveys)

Location: Atlantic OPAREAs

Objectives: Assess occurrence, habitat associations, and stock structure of marine mammals and sea turtles in key areas of Navy range complexes

Methods: Visual surveys, photo ID, biopsy sampling

Performing Organizations: Duke University

Timeline: Ongoing

Funding: FY13 - $275k, FY14 - $350k, FY15 - $250k, FY16 - $220k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and sea turtles are present in Navy range complexes

Determine what populations of marine mammals are exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Ongoing

Title: Baseline Monitoring for Marine Mammals in the East Coast Range Complexes (passive acoustics)

Location: Atlantic OPAREAs

Objectives: Assess occurrence, density, and vocal activity of marine mammals and sea turtles in key areas of Navy range complexes

Methods: Passive acoustic monitoring

Performing Organizations: Duke University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Timeline: Ongoing

Funding: FY13 - $780k, FY14 - $800k, FY15 - $680k, FY16 - $596k

Determine what species and populations of marine mammals and sea turtles are present in Navy range complexes

Estimate the density of marine mammals and sea turtles in Navy range complexes and in specific training areas

Determine what populations of marine mammals are exposed to Navy training and testing activities

Establish the baseline vocalization behavior of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Evaluate trends in distribution and abundance of populations that are regularly exposed to sonar and underwater explosives

Ongoing

Title: Tagging and Tracking of Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales in Florida Waters

Location: Jacksonville Range Complex

Objectives: Assess behavior of right whales in coastal waters off Florida including rates of travel of individual whales, dive behavior, and rates of sound production.

Methods: Observational methods combined with short term (ca. 24 hour) non-invasive suction cup attached multi-sensor acoustic recording tags with fastloc GPS.

Performing Organizations: Duke University, Syracuse University

Timeline: Ongoing since 2014

Funding: FY13 - $335K, FY14 - $390K, FY15 - $505k, FY16 - $390k

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline vocalization behavior of marine mammals and sea turtles where Navy training and testing activities occur

First field season - February 2014

2014-2016 field summaries available
Title: VACAPES Continental Shelf Break Cetacean Study

Location: Offshore Mid-Atlantic

Objectives: Assess occurrence, habitat use, and baseline behavior of cetaceans in continental shelf break region of the VACAPES OPAREA

Methods: Visual surveys, focal follow observational methods, photo ID, biopsy sampling, satellite tagging

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc

Timeline: 2015-2018

Funding: FY16 - $645k

Establish the baseline habitat uses and movement patterns of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

Establish the baseline behavior (foraging, dive patterns, etc.) of marine mammals where Navy training and testing activities occur

New start (FY16)

Transition from offshore component of humpack whale monitoring project
Title: Autonomous Real-Time Passive Acoustic Monitoring of Baleen Whales for Mitigating Interactions with Naval Activities

Location: Gulf of Maine

Objectives: Demonstrate near real-time passive acoustic detection and classification hardware/software systems

Methods: PAM from autonomous platforms

Performing Organizations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NOAA NEFSC, NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2015-2017

Funding: Joint funding - LMR & ESTCP

Development and validation of techniques and tools for detecting, classifying, and tracking marine mammals

Initial deployments complete

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