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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: Seal Tagging and Tracking in Southeast 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: 2017-18 pilot project

Funding: FY16 - $40k, FY17 - $170k, FY18 - $34k

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

Pilot project

Field work winter 2017-18
Title: Tagging and Tracking of Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales in Florida Waters

Location: Southeast Atlantic

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. Autonomous passive acoustic glider

Performing Organizations: Duke University, Syracuse University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Timeline: 2014-2018

Funding: FY13 - $335K, FY14 - $390K, FY15 - $505k, FY16 - $390k, FY17 $278K

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

Field work ongoing

2014-2016 field summaries available
Title: Haul-Out Counts and Photo-Identification of Pinnipeds in Lower Chesapeake Bay

Location: Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore of Virginia

Objectives: Document seasonal occurrence, habitat use, and haul-out patterns of seals

Methods: Visual surveys, photo ID

Performing Organizations: NAVFAC Atlantic

Timeline: 2014 to 2018

Funding: Funding: FY15 $52K; FY16 $36K; FY17 $7k

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 ongoing

2017 progress update available
Title: Mid-Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog

Location: Northwest Atlantic

Objectives: Establish a centralized collaborative humpback whale photo-id catalog for the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions to support management and environmental planning

Methods: Photo identification

Performing Organizations: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, Duke University

Timeline: 2017-2019

Funding: FY16 - $106k, FY17 - $74K

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

In progress

Stakeholder workshop report available
Title: NAS Patuxent River Marine Species Surveys

Location: Chesapeake Bay (NAS Patuxent River)

Objectives: Assess occurrence, seasonality, and abundance of Tursiops in the waters near NAS PAX River

Methods: Aerial surveys, photo ID, passive acoustics

Performing Organizations: HDR Inc, UNC Wilmington, Virginia Aquarium Foundation

Timeline: 2015-2017

Funding: $675k

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

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

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

Field work complete

Final analysis in progress
Title: Mid-Atlantic Continental Shelf Break Cetacean Study

Location: Offshore Mid-Atlantic (VACAPES OPAREA)

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: 2016-2019

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

Year 2 field work in progress

Transition from offshore component of humpack whale monitoring project
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: 2015-2018

Funding: FY14 - $320k, FY15 - $260K, FY16 - $370K, FY17 - $325k

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 4 field work winter 2017/18

Satelite tagging component added 2015/16 field season
Title: Atlantic Behavioral Response Study

Location: Cape Hatteras study area

Objectives: Assess behavioral response of beaked and pilot whales to mid-frequency tactical sonar

Methods: Controlled exposure experiments, DTAGs, satellite tags

Performing Organizations: Southall Environmental Associates, Duke University, Cascadia Research Collective, CREEM - University of St. Andrews

Timeline: 2017-2020

Funding: FY16 - $35k, FY17 - $1.6M

Evaluate behavioral responses of marine mammals exposed to Navy training and testing activities

New start 2017

Field sessions planned for May and Sept 2017
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