The Demographic Effects of Increasing Anthropogenic Noise on Mysticeti Whales


Over the past five decades anthropogenic (man-made) noise has increased in the world’s oceans due to an eruption in shipping, oil drilling, research activities, and military explorations. All these factors have contributed to a dramatic elevation of low frequency noise in the oceanic environment. Research on marine mammals has shown that noise below 500Hz can cause physical trauma to their auditory system. Due to their reliance on their auditory system for survival any drastic increase in noise may compromise their survival. The species in the suborder Mysticeti communicate in frequency ranges from 50-600Hz and thus most affected by increased noise, specifically the six species that are on the endangered species list. We propose that increased oceanic noise will have a deleterious effect on mating and thus reproduction by masking a percentage of mating calls. In order to investigate how noise affects their population dynamics, we modeled the population of Mysticeti whales through a nonlinear system of three discrete time equations (reproductive females, reproductive males, and parental females). Analytical and numerical techniques are used to examine the long-term behavior of our system..

In Biometrics Unit Report