Sirena '02 & Sirena '03

 

The Sirena/Ziphio trials were conducted and organized by the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC).

The main scientific goal of the Sirena experiments was to develop a cetacean density prediction capability and to develop and evaluate on-site acoustic risk mitigation procedures and tools. This was accomplished through collecting relevant ocean characteristics and cetacean presence data and by setting up an integrated Ocean Physical/Biological Information System (OPBIS) followed by the development of a cetacean prediction framework. At the same time specific, careful controlled acoustic exposure experiments were carried out with cetaceans of opportunity to investigate the impact active acoustic devices may have, or have not on the target species. Trained visual observers, passive and active sonar and the use of non-acoustic sensors, such as motion-recording tags, allowed the collection of unique data sets designed to help the understanding of the impact, or lack of impact, of sound on cetaceans. LADC participated by deploying high spped EARS buoys to record sperm whale & cuvier beaked whale.

Sirena '02
The Sirena 02 Test was performed during the summer of 2002. The trial location was the Corsica-Ligurian Basin and areas to the West of Corsica and Sardinia. Plots of the operational area can be seen in Figure A. A number of Sperm Whales were tracked passively by scientists from SACLANTCEN and Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali (CIBRA), Università degli Studi di Pavia, while simultaneous tracking of whales using active sonar was attempted by scientists from SACLANTCEN. This was done in coordination with scientists of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who placed DTAGs on the subject whale. Techniques to improve the accuracy of passive acoustic and visual tracking were also tested. Scientists from the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, the Acquario di Genova, Centro Studi Cetacei, Office of Naval Research, and the Sea Mammal Research Unit, Gatty Marine Laboratory, Scotland participated in the visual survey and “focal follow” of the tagged whales. The capability to track whales is important for assessing whether any behavioural change has occurred as a result of active sonar transmission.


The main objectives of the cruise were the following:

1.Investigate the relationship between the physical/biological environment (water composition and temperature, plankton density, nutrient levels, etc.) and marine mammal distribution. This was achieved by:
- Measurements of conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen vs. depth
- Sampling and use of plankton net
- Cetacean visual sightings and acoustic detections

2.Investigate new/improved techniques for mammal tracking to allow behaviour analysis:
- Improved accuracy of range and bearing measurement for visual tracking
- Tracking by passive and active sonar
- Passive acoustics for detection and tracking

3.Estimate maximum safe acoustic received level for Pm:
- Tracking by visual “focal follow” techniques
- Tracking by active sonar
- Tracking by use of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute D-Tags
- Controlled exposure experiments


4.Investigate use of infrared for marine mammal detection
- A borrowed infrared camera was tested.

 

Participating Organizations:

SACLANT Undersea Research Centre (SACLANTCEN)
Università degli Studi di Genova (UNIGE) and the Istituto Centrale per la Ricerca Applicata al Mare (ICRAM)
Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali (CIBRA), Università degli Studi di Pavia
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano
Centro Studi Cetacei (CSC)
Aquastudio, Messina, Italy
The Naval European Meteorology and Oceanography Center (US)
The Naval Research Laboratory
Sea Mammal Research Unit

The area also included French territorial waters for which diplomatic clearance was requested for the period 05-08 July 2002.

Figure A

Number of buoys:
1
Location:

43 ° 46.138’N, 08 ° 47.030 ’W

Dates:

3 July- 23 July 2002

Days of recorded data:

20:00:08:32

Amount of data:

80 Gb

Depth:
989.6m

 

 

Sirena '03
The Genoa Canyon region of the Ligurian Sea is a known late-spring, summer and early fall habitat of Ziphius cavirostris (Zc), Cuvier’s Beaked Whale. Zc was strongly suspected to be extremely sensitive to active sonar transmissions and was a primary subject animal for this project. This trial helped determine if Zc was migratory and to collect baseline behavioral information in preparation for the ultimate tests of sonar on Ziphius. The oceanographic and biological data was compared to satellite and dynamic modelling data and used for oceanographic and habitat modeling. LADC deployed high-speed, 2nd generation EARS buoys capable of a bandwidth of 100kHz.

Participating Organizations:

SACLANT Undersea Research Centre (SACLANTCEN)
Università degli Studi di Genova (UNIGE) and the Istituto Centrale per la Ricerca Applicata al Mare (ICRAM)
Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali (CIBRA), Università degli Studi di Pavia
Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano and Centro Studi Cetacei (CSC)
The Naval European Meteorology and Oceanography Center (US)
The Naval Research Laboratory

 

Number of buoys:
1
Locations:

43 ° 59.931’N, 08 ° 26.045’W

Dates:

22 August - 11 September 2003

Days of recorded data:

9.4 days

Amount of data:

291 Gb

Depth:
1003.1