Research Mentor(s)

Acevedo-Gutiérrez, Alejandro, 1964-

Description

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are one of the most abundant pinniped species in the northeast Pacific. Harbor seal haul-out behavior is influenced by a variety of factors, including anthropogenic disturbance. One component of anthropogenic disturbance is increases in ambient noise levels due to human activities, such as construction. There is evidence that noise disturbance can affect harbor seal hearing as well as cause short-term changes in haul-out behavior. However, it is unclear how noise disturbance affects harbor seal haul-out patterns over long temporal scales. In this proposed study, I aim to investigate the effect of ambient noise levels on long-term harbor seal haul-out patterns by conducting day-time field surveys of harbor seals at two similar sites that are available at all tide levels: the Bellingham Waterfront in Bellingham, WA, and Semiahmoo Marina in Drayton Harbor, WA. These sites differ in terms of the amount of seals present and their proximity to human activities. Thus, I expect to find that ambient noise level is significantly lower at Semiahmoo Marina and that the number of seals is significantly higher. I also expect to find a significant negative relationship between ambient noise level and the number of harbor seals hauled out. In addition, I plan to assess the importance of ambient noise relative to other factors affecting harbor seal haul-out using a generalized linear model. The other factors will be time of day, tide level, year, season, temperature, space availability, and food availability. This study will contribute to our understanding of the effect of anthropogenic noise on harbor seal haul-out behavior.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

15-5-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

15-5-2019 5:00 PM

Location

Carver Gym (Bellingham, Wash.)

Department

Biology

Genre/Form

student projects, posters

Type

Image

Keywords

harbor seals, haul-out, anthropogenic disturbance, noise

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 15th, 5:00 PM

The effect of anthropogenic noise disturbance on day-time haul out patterns of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) at two sites available at all tide levels.

Carver Gym (Bellingham, Wash.)

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are one of the most abundant pinniped species in the northeast Pacific. Harbor seal haul-out behavior is influenced by a variety of factors, including anthropogenic disturbance. One component of anthropogenic disturbance is increases in ambient noise levels due to human activities, such as construction. There is evidence that noise disturbance can affect harbor seal hearing as well as cause short-term changes in haul-out behavior. However, it is unclear how noise disturbance affects harbor seal haul-out patterns over long temporal scales. In this proposed study, I aim to investigate the effect of ambient noise levels on long-term harbor seal haul-out patterns by conducting day-time field surveys of harbor seals at two similar sites that are available at all tide levels: the Bellingham Waterfront in Bellingham, WA, and Semiahmoo Marina in Drayton Harbor, WA. These sites differ in terms of the amount of seals present and their proximity to human activities. Thus, I expect to find that ambient noise level is significantly lower at Semiahmoo Marina and that the number of seals is significantly higher. I also expect to find a significant negative relationship between ambient noise level and the number of harbor seals hauled out. In addition, I plan to assess the importance of ambient noise relative to other factors affecting harbor seal haul-out using a generalized linear model. The other factors will be time of day, tide level, year, season, temperature, space availability, and food availability. This study will contribute to our understanding of the effect of anthropogenic noise on harbor seal haul-out behavior.

 

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