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The behavioural response of Australian fur seals to motor boat noise

Tripovich, Joy S., Hall-Aspland, Sophie, Charrier, Isabelle and Arnould, John P. Y. 2012, The behavioural response of Australian fur seals to motor boat noise, PLoS One, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 1-7.

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Title The behavioural response of Australian fur seals to motor boat noise
Author(s) Tripovich, Joy S.
Hall-Aspland, Sophie
Charrier, Isabelle
Arnould, John P. Y.
Journal name PLoS One
Volume number 7
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2012-05-18
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) environmental noise
vocal rates
amplitude
lions
Summary Australian fur seals breed on thirteen islands located in the Bass Strait, Australia. Land access to these islands is restricted, minimising human presence but boat access is still permissible with limitations on approach distances. Thirty-two controlled noise exposure experiments were conducted on breeding Australian fur seals to determine their behavioural response to controlled in-air motor boat noise on Kanowna Island (39°10′S, 146°18′E). Our results show there were significant differences in the seals' behaviour at low (64–70 dB) versus high (75–85 dB) sound levels, with seals orientating themselves towards or physically moving away from the louder boat noise at three different sound levels. Furthermore, seals responded more aggressively with one another and were more alert when they heard louder boat noise. Australian fur seals demonstrated plasticity in their vocal responses to boat noise with calls being significantly different between the various sound intensities and barks tending to get faster as the boat noise got louder. These results suggest that Australian fur seals on Kanowna Island show behavioural disturbance to high level boat noise. Consequently, it is recommended that an appropriate level of received boat sound emissions at breeding fur seal colonies be below 74 dB and that these findings be taken into account when evaluating appropriate approach distances and speed limits for boats.
Notes This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Language eng
Field of Research 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
060201 Behavioural Ecology
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
Socio Economic Objective 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, Tripovich et al.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30049631

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.