OverviewPacific Wild is collaborating with the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department and other partners to establish a permanent array of hydrophones on the central coast of British Columbia. The data collected from year-round live acoustic monitoring will be used to aid in marine use planning by helping to track how a variety of marine mammal species utilize the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest while also measuring changes in ocean noise over time. The Central Coast Hydrophone Network will create long-term monitoring capacity to accurately assess the effects of shipping on the marine environment. Students at the Bella Bella Community School will also use the hydrophones to learn more about their local marine environment as a part of the SEAS Community Initiative.
To date we have four hydrophones deployed in Heiltsuk territory. We are broadcasting live audio from the hydrophones to the Bella Bella Community over FM radio. You can also listen to a live stream and to a selection of our 2012 highlights here.
ObjectivesAs the project expands over the next few years, our hydrophone network will:
- Provide quantitative assessments of marine acoustic disturbance, changes in ambient ocean noise, and potential effects of acoustic masking with regards to cetaceans. This will be critical to accurately assessing the effects of shipping on the marine environment.
- Improve understanding of cetacean activity by:
- Assessing resident and transient killer whale use of the B.C. coast, including the identification of different pods according to distinct acoustic dialects
- Documenting humpback whale song display in northern waters
- Supplementing Coastal Guardian Watchmen marine mammal sightings data
- Serve as a public outreach and education tool to help build awareness regarding the natural history of cetaceans and the sensitivity of the marine environment to the impacts of commercial shipping.