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Warfare Ecology on an Underwater Demolition Range: Acoustic Observations of Shallow Water Detonations and Marine Life in Hawai‘i.

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Title:Warfare Ecology on an Underwater Demolition Range: Acoustic Observations of Shallow Water Detonations and Marine Life in Hawai‘i.
Authors:Shannon, Lee H.
Contributors:Zoology (department)
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Most studies investigating the effects of military-associated anthropogenic noise concentrate on deep sea or open ocean propagation of sonar and its effect on marine mammals. In littoral waters, U.S. military special operations units regularly conduct shallow water explosives training, yet relatively little attention has been given to the potential impact on nearshore marine ecosystems from these underwater detonations. This dissertation research focused on the Pu’uloa Underwater Detonation Range off the coast of O`ahu, and examined multiple aspects of the surrounding marine ecosystem and the effects of detonations using acoustic monitoring techniques. The soundscape of a nearshore reef ecosystem adjacent to the UNDET range was characterized through analysis of passive acoustic recordings collected over the span of 6 years. Snapping shrimp were the predominant source of noise, and a diel pattern was present, with increased sound energy during the night hours. Results revealed a difference of up to 7dB between two Ecological Acoustic Recorder locations 2.5km apart along the 60ft isobath. Passive acoustic recording files were searched visually and aurally for odontocete whistles. Whistles were detected in only 0.6% of files analyzed, indicating this area is not frequently transited by coastal odontocete emitting social sounds. The study also opportunistically captured a humpback whale singing during a detonation event, during which the animal showed no obvious alteration of its singing behavior. Four separate underwater detonation events were recorded using a surface deployed F-42C transducer, and the resulting analysis showed no measurable drop in the biologically produced acoustic energy in reaction to the explosive events. Coral reef fishes were recorded visually and acoustically during detonation events at a known distance and bearing from a known explosive sound source. Individual fish behavioral responses to the explosion varied, and a sharp uptick in fish vocalizations was recorded immediately following the blast, with rapid (within 30s) return to baseline visual and acoustic behavior. The results and conclusions of these studies are placed within the broader context of warfare ecology as an emerging scientific discipline.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Zoology

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