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Odontocetes respond to vessels and anthropogenic noise by modifying vocal behavior, surface active behaviors, dive patterns, swim speed, direction of travel, and activity budgets. Exposure scenarios and behavioral responses vary across odontocetes. A literature review was conducted to determine relevant sources of disturbance and associated behavioral responses for several odontocete species (bottlenose dolphin, killer whale, harbor porpoise, and beaked whales). The energetic costs of species-specific responses to anthropogenic disturbance were then estimated. The energetic impact varies across species and scenarios as well as by behavioral responses. Overall, the cumulative energetic cost of ephemeral behavioral responses (e.g., performing surface active behaviors, modifying acoustic signals) and modifying swim speeds and activity budgets likely increases daily energy expenditure by ≤4%. In contrast, the reduction in foraging activity in the presence of vessels and/or exposure to sonar has the potential to significantly reduce individuals’ daily energy acquisition. Indeed, across all odontocete species, decreased energy acquisition as a result of reduced foraging undoubtedly has a larger impact on individuals than the increased energy expenditure associated with behavioral modification. This work provides a powerful tool to investigate the biological significance of multiple behavioral responses that are likely to occur in response to anthropogenic disturbance.


Copyright 2016 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America.

The following article appeared in Dawn P. Noren, et al. Comparative and cumulative energetic costs of odontocete responses to anthropogenic disturbance. Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 27, 040011 (2016), and may be found at



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