Depredation and bycatch studies

The SE Alaska Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) is a twelve-year collaboration between the local fishing community of Sitka, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, the non-profit Sitka Sound Science Center (SSSC), and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO).  The fishing community participates as equal partners in the research effort; for example, our fishermen colleagues have designed and built most of the deployment hardware for all BREP-related projects.  The result of this collaboration has been a substantial number of field deployments for both observational studies and controlled testing of various marine mammal depredation deterrents, yielding multiple peer-reviewed publications. I have worked closely with the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance project (SEASWAP) for several years.  Our current research focus is the use of “acoustic decoys” to attract animals away from fishing activity, and a combined underwater video/acoustic system for monitoring whether various marine mammal species echolocate or whistle when depredating in daylight or nighttime conditions. Here is a link for a site on the project (it may be out of date). Our most spectacular result so far (obtained with National Geographic Society CRE support): [youtube] Eight peer-reviewed publications on this topic have been generated, along with numerous reports to our sponsoring agencies.  Citations are below; some key publications in green link to the actual manuscripts.

  1. A. Thode, L. Wild, D. Mathias, J. Straley, C. Lunsford, “A comparison of acoustic and visual metrics of sperm whale longline depredation,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., accepted (2014).
  2. J.M. Straley, G.S. Schorr, A.M. Thode, J.A. Calambokidis, C.R. Lunsford, E.M. Chenoweth, V.M. O’Connell, R.D Andrews, “Local movements, habitat use, and long distance migrations across stock boundaries of depredating sperm whales in the North Pacific,” Endangered Species Research, accepted Jan. 2014.
  3. D. Mathias, A.M. Thode, J. Straley, and R.K. Andrews. “Depth and range tracking of sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska using a two-element vertical array, satellite and bioacoustic tags,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 134(3), Pt. 2, 2446-2461, (2013).
  4. D. Mathias, A.M. Thode, J. Straley, J. Calambokidis, G.S. Schorr, K. Folkert, “Acoustic and diving behavior of sperm whales (Physeter Macrocephalus) during natural and depredation foraging in the Gulf of Alaska,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 132(1), 518-532, (2012).
  5. A.M. Thode, J.S. Skinner, P. Scott, J. Roswell, J. Straley, and K. Folkert, “Tracking sperm whales with a towed acoustic vector sensor,”. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 128, 2681-2694 (2010). 
  6. D. Mathias, A. Thode, J. Straley, K. Folkert, “Relationship between sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) click structure and size derived from videocamera images of a depredating whale,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 125, 3444-3453 (2009).
  7. A.M. Thode, J. Straley, C. Tiemann, K. Folkert, V. O’Connel, “Observations of potential acoustic cues that attract sperm whales to longline fishing in the Gulf of Alaska,”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122(2), 1265-1277 (2007).
  8. C. Tiemann, A. Thode, J. Straley, K. Folkert, V. O’Connell, “Three-dimensional localization of sperm whales using a single hydrophone,”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 120 (4), 2355-65 (2006).


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