Multiple-Pulse Sounds and Seals: Results of a Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) Telemetry Study During Wind Farm Construction
Offshore construction and survey techniques can produce pulsed sounds with a high sound pressure level. In coastal waters, the areas in which they are produced are often also used by seals, potentially resulting in auditory damage or behavioral avoidance. Here, we describe a study on harbor seals during a wind farm installation off southeast England. The study used GPS/global system for mobile communication tags on 23 harbor seals that provided distribution and activity data; the closest range of individual seals to piling varied from 6.65 to 46.1 km. Furthermore, the maximum predicted received levels (RLs) at individual seals varied between 146.9 and 169.4 dB re 1 μPa peak to peak.
KeywordsPinniped Propagation Offshore wind farm Renewables
The work was funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. We thank John Hartley at Hartley Anderson for support during the project and Jennifer Snowball at Centrica for provision of pile-driving records for the project. We also thank Simon Moss for coordinating the tagging efforts and the Instrumentation Group at the Sea Mammal Research Unit.
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