Blue and Fin Whale Acoustic Trends (AT)

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Acoustic trends in abundance, distribution and seasonal presence of Antarctic Blue and Fin Whales in the Southern Ocean



In the Southern Ocean, Antarctic blue whales and fin whales were severely depleted during commercial whaling. To monitor the post-exploitation status of both species in this remote area, the Acoustic Trends Working Group has proposed the use of a circum-Antarctic network of passive acoustic recorders.
The Blue and Fin Whale Acoustic Trends Project (ATP) has continued to develop and mature a long-term acoustic research program to understand trends in Southern Ocean blue and fin whale distribution, seasonal presence, and population growth through the use of passive acoustic monitoring techniques. This international collaboration has continued to deliver:
  1. Analysis and interpretation of existing ad-hoc acoustic datasets in from the Southern Ocean,
  2. Development and implementation of an ongoing network of long-term circumpolar underwater listening stations, and
  3. Development of novel and efficient methods for standardized analysis of acoustic data collected in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic
This working group contributes to the SOOS Science Priority Theme 6, impacts of global change on Southern Ocean ecosystems and was approved in 2017 with a proposed finish in 2019.

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Map showing the locations of long-term autonomous acoustic recording stations of the Southern Ocean Hydrophone Network (ca. 2017). Yellow highlighting indicates areas with gaps in spatial coverage and illustrates the need for further collaborations to address these gaps.
Objectives
The full terms of references for this working group can be found here.

  1. Provide support to regional working groups in the implementation of observing system components or advances related to the outputs of this proposed capability working group.
  2. Establish linkages with existing and emerging programs of relevance to this proposed capability working group.
  3. Convene focused sessions at national and international meetings, and facilitate synthesis products, to increase the awareness of the scientific community to the importance of the activities and outcomes of this working group.
  4. Provide support to International Program Office (IPO) by providing annual reports to be available at the SOOS SSC annual meeting, as well as providing content for the IPO website/newsletters on the activities and outcomes of the proposed working group.
  5. Develop a funding plan to sustain the Working Group activities.
  6. Have products coming out of the WG acknowledge SOOS.
  7. Provide practical recommendations to guide and support passive acoustic data collection in Antarctic waters.
  8. Provide guidance on standardization of passive acoustic data from different areas for accurate and efficient analysis and interpretation.