Daniel P. Costa
Burney Le Boeuf
Univ. of California---Santa Cruz
John Calambokidus Cascadia
Moss Landing Marine Laboratory
This presentation will outline the research program currently in place to study the effect of the California ATOC experiment on marine mammals. There are three phases to this research: (1) a preliminary baseline data collection period prior to any ATOC transmissions, (2) a pilot study (when ATOC transmissions would be manipulated to assess effects on marine mammals), and (3) a monitoring period (when transmissions are optimized for climate study, ATOC feasibility operations). During the pilot study ATOC transmissions would be 4 days on, 7 days off and changes in the animals distribution, abundance, and general behavior measured. This experimental pattern would be replicated to provide statistical power. Although the objectives are different for each period, the research methodology remains the same. Methods used will be aerial and shipboard surveys to assess distribution and abundance, shipboard observations to assess behavior, a towed array to assess acoustic behavior, photo-identification to examine long-term movements and stock identity, and very high frequency (VHF) radio tags and time depth recorders (TDR) to assess dive behavior and movements. Data collected during the preliminary period are being used to predict sample sizes necessary for studies that would be carried out during the pilot study.