The prediction of marine mammal aggregations by reference to oceanographic observables in the seas to the north and west of the Hebrides

Updated 2003-06-25

• There is a clear need to predict the occurrence of marine mammals in order to minimise the possible harmful impact of military sonar activities, some of which have recently received extensive public media exposure. • No military or civilian method currently exists to predict the possibility of encountering marine mammals. • The proposed work will exploit components of existing NERC-funded research within the core science programmes of SAMS and SMRU to develop a predictive tool that will link marine mammal occurrence to classical oceanographic observables. • Pre-existing data on marine mammal aggregations lead us to believe that the proposed method has a high probability of success. • The main study area will be the open seas to the north and west of the Hebrides. • Existing NERC-funded SAMS cruises in this area will collect oceanographic data, supplementing remotely sensed imagery and the extensive SAMS archive of time-series from this area. • A key element in achieving the proposal objective (and in furthering NERC science objectives) will be the recruitment of SMRU observers and equipment to SAMS cruise complements so that marine mammal sightings may be linked directly to the oceanographic research programme. • Additional SMRU deployments on board vessels of opportunity will increase the density of the observational programme. • The suitability of SOSUS acoustic data as an indicator of marine mammal presence will be investigated. • The datasets will be analysed using a variety of statistical techniques to yield a practical relationship between observables (local oceanographic conditions, season, location) and species abundance. • The value of the relationship as an operational tool will be tested in a variety of scenarios. • The work is expected to run from the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2005.

Time frame

Project time span
2002 - 2005
Data collection
not specified
Data processing
not specified
Data reporting
not specified

Contact information

Contact person
David Meldrum
Scottish Association for Marine Science Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory Oban Argyll PA37 1QA
[+44] (0) 1631 559273
[+44] (0) 1631 559001

Parameters and Media

Not specified


Regions studied
East-Siberian Sea

Data availability

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Not specified

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
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