Oceanoise Asia 2016

2016/4/20

Characterization of the marine soundscape at the core habitat of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins

Tzu-Hao Lin, Lien-Siang Chou
Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

Shane Guan
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD, USA

The soundscape in shallow waters displays a high level of spatial variation due to the difference in ocean environments, biological communities, and human activities. Many marine animals rely on sound for orientation; therefore, the soundscape has been hypothesized as one of the environmental indicators for marine animals. The population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in western Taiwan waters is critically endangered. The anthropogenic noise might alter the marine soundscape evidently. However, the importance of soundscape for the habitat selection of cetacean remains unclear until now. In this study, underwater recorders were deployed in inshore waters to compare the difference of soundscape between the core habitat and non-core habitat of humpback dolphins. The result indicates that the composition of soundscape scene is different among our recording stations. At the core habitat, soundscape was characterized by the nighttime chorus of croakers and the quiet ambient sound in the daytime. On the contrary, snapping shrimp sounds represent the most dominated sound at the non-core habitats. The current result indicates that humpback dolphins prefer soundscape dominated by the chorus of their prey resources. The potential impacts of human activities on marine soundscape should be carefully evaluated in the future.

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2016 動物行為暨生態研討會

2016/1/25-26

中華白海豚核心棲地的海洋聲景特徵以及保育經營的應用

林子皓、周蓮香

國立台灣大學生態學與演化生物學研究所

Shane Guan

美國國家海洋漁業局保護資源辦公室

海洋聲景由環境音、動物音以及人為噪音所組成,物理環境影響了聲音傳播,各地不同的動物群聚與人類活動也塑造出各種獨特的聲景。聲景中的訊息可讓海洋動物尋找適合的棲地,察知其他個體的活動位置,甚至探測獵物位置,因此可說是海洋動物生存的重要資源之一。台灣西部淺海的中華白海豚族群面臨許多威脅,水下噪音除了可能造成聽力損傷、行為干擾之外,也會改變當地的海洋聲景。但目前仍缺乏對白海豚棲地的聲景研究,也不清楚聲景的變化是否影響白海豚的棲地選擇。本研究於苗栗縣海域收集長時間水下聲音,分析時頻譜圖的時空變化,發現中港溪口的聲景與其他地區之間有明顯差異。中港溪口是中華白海豚的核心棲地,聲景以白天安靜的環境音和夜間吵雜的石首魚鳴唱為主。白海豚鮮少活動在龍鳳漁港外海的定置網區,以及外埔漁港外海的魚礁區,當地聲景則以槍蝦的寬頻脈衝聲與船隻噪音為主,石首魚的夜間鳴唱也較為低頻且不明顯。本研究結果顯示海洋聲景確實在白海豚核心與非核心棲地之間存在差異,高強度的石首魚鳴唱可能代表充足的食餌資源。未來除了可透過海洋聲景了解白海豚的潛在棲地,也可利用水下監聽站自動監測白海豚、石首魚與人為活動在各地海域的動態變化,以協助中華白海豚重要棲息環境的保育經營。

Conference presentation: 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

13-18 Dec 2015

A noisy dinner? Passive acoustic monitoring on the predator-prey interactions between Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and croakers

Tzu-Hao Lin, Wen-Ching Lien, Chih-Kai Yang, and Lien-Siang Chou
Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

Shane Guan
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD, USA

The spatio-temporal dynamics of prey resources have been considered as important factors for shaping the distribution and behavior of odontocetes. Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is a costal species, which primary feeds on benthic croakers. It has been hypothesized that the distribution pattern and periodic occurrence of humpback dolphins are results of their prey movement. However, the interactions between humpback dolphins and croakers remain unclear. During May 2013 and November 2014, underwater sound recordings were collected in western Taiwan waters. Croaker choruses and humpback dolphin echolocation clicks were automatically detected using custom developed algorithms. Both croaker choruses and dolphin clicks were frequently detected in shallow estuarine waters during spring and summer. In addition, shorter inter-click intervals were detected with higher frequencies in these areas, indicating more likely foraging behavior. Current results suggest that the core habitats of humpback dolphins show an agreement with the areas of prominent croaker chorus. Diurnal cycle analysis showed that croaker choruses were most evident after sunset to until approximately 4 A.M. In estuarine waters, humpback dolphin clicks were most frequently detected during the nighttime, with reduced detection rates after 8 A.M. This suggests that the diurnal behavior of humpback dolphins could be associated with the calling behavior of croakers. Although whether the position of a calling croaker could be passively localized by a dolphin remains unknown, our results indicate that the foraging probability of humpback dolphins may be elevated during the nighttime chorus of croakers. Information regarding the spatio-temporal dynamics of croaker chorus can be important for the conservation management of humpback dolphins. Further details on the predator-prey interactions between humpback dolphins and croakers can be investigated by using hydrophone arrays.

Poster (pdf)

[聲物誌] 白海豚之家

Sousa_bye

白海豚所生活的海洋是甚麼樣子的? 在混濁的海中只能仰賴聽覺了解一切,海表面下的浪花、雨聲、水流聲,透漏了所在之處的環境與位置,更聽見了各種海洋生物活動的蹤跡。聽著哨聲在旅途中尋找同伴,社交之外也合作覓食,但記得小心高速開過的船隻,不注意的話可是會命喪黃泉的。越來越頻繁的噪音,降低了聽到同伴聲音的機會,也減少了利用聲音來尋找食物的效率。這是白海豚的家園,一個正受到噪音侵蝕的海洋。

[聲物誌] 錄音機漂流記

近期颱風肆虐,連帶著海洋觀測也跟著遭殃。前一陣子就因為蓮花颱風和昌鴻颱風接連靠近台灣,造成研究團隊在苗栗外海所放置的海下錄音機因為不明原因而脫離錨錠裝置、漂流上岸。還好遇到當地的好心人通報之後,得以將錄音機尋回,今天也才有機會讓大家聽聽錄音機迷途的這段過程。 

這段漂流的時間其實不長,大約5至6個小時後錄音機就被浪打上岸。錄音機漂流的路徑根據推測應是從後龍外海約15公尺水深的礁石區一路北漂至附近的中港溪口南岸,再進入潮間帶與碎波帶。然而,在這段濃縮的3分半鐘錄音裡,卻可以聽到海洋聲景有著非常大幅度的改變。

0:00 – 1:00
礁石區內眾多的槍蝦聲音。注意1分鐘後的水花聲,顯示錄音機已經浮上水面 (痛心)。

1:00 – 1:30
脫離礁石區,槍蝦聲音明顯減少。當時已進入傍晚,可以聽見河口附近的石首魚開始發出低頻的鳴聲。

1:30 – 2:57
台灣西部河口附近著名的石首魚群體鳴唱。注意這段時間之中,石首魚聲音的音頻特徵隨錄音機漂流進入潮間帶後的改變趨勢。

2:57 – 3:39
碎波帶的浪花與水流聲。這段聲音是透過水下麥克風所錄製,和空氣中聽到的略有不同。
 

從這段錄音之中,其實我們不難發現在不同型態的海床、地區之間,可能受到當地生態系組成的不同,而造就了多樣化的海洋聲景。許多海洋動物,也可能是透過各地聲景的不同,以此來尋找其偏好的棲地位置。因此,自然的海洋聲景是否受到人為噪音的干擾,將會是海洋保育非常重要的課題,亟需我們更多的關注。

International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation of Marine Ecosystems 2015 @ Hong Kong

1-4 June 2015

Seasonal changes in habitat use of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins at an estuary

Tzu-Hao Lin, Chia-Yun Lee, Lien-Siang Chou

Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

Tomonari Akamatsu

National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency

River estuaries are ecotone environments where freshwater and seawater mix together. Seasonal rainfall is likely to influence the salinity, turbidity, and development of estuarine fronts, thus alter the distribution of aquatic animals at an estuary. Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is a coastal species that use estuaries as their core habitat. According to previous studies, the distribution of humpback dolphins in their estuarine habitat moved seaward during wet seasons. In addition, circling movement associated with the hunt for epipelagic fish increased during flooding tides. However, it remains unclear how seasonal rainfall influences the estuarine habitat use of humpback dolphins. During July 2009 and October 2014, acoustic data loggers were deployed at the Xin Huwei River estuary, Taiwan to record ultrasonic pulsed sounds. Biosonar clicks of humpback dolphins were detected using an automatic detection algorithm. The temporal variations of humpback dolphin behavior were investigated in terms of detection rate, occurrence pattern within the tidal cycle, echolocation behavior. The behavior of humpback dolphins significantly varied among the four monitoring sections and two periods (wet and dry seasons). The tide related occurrence was evident at the entire monitoring area during wet seasons, however, the similar occurrence pattern was only observed at the inner and outer estuary during dry seasons. In addition, long distance biosonars were much frequently detected at the inshore and offshore sections. During drought periods, the inshore and offshore sections are less likely to be influenced by the mixtures between freshwater and seawater. Our results suggest the river runoff may play an important factor in shaping the estuarine habitat use of humpback dolphins. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the interception of river runoff in the conservation management of humpback dolphins in an estuarine habitat.

New article online: Seasonal Distribution of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins at an Estuarine Habitat: Influences of Upstream Rainfall

Here is the new online article regarding the seasonal distribution change of coastal dolphins.

Seasonal Distribution of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins at an Estuarine Habitat: Influences of Upstream Rainfall

Estuaries and Coasts (2014) doi:10.1007/s12237-014-9886-2

Tzu-Hao Lin1, Tomonari Akamatsu2, 3, Lien-Siang Chou1

1Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Number 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, Republic of China 
2National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency, 7620-7 Hasaki, Kamisu, Ibaraki 314-0408, Japan
3Japan Science and Technology Agency, CREST, Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0075, Japan

River estuaries are dynamic regions that are influenced by the interactions between freshwater and seawater as well as seasonal variations in river runoffs. Studies focusing on the distribution of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) have indicated their general tendency toward estuarine habitats. The seasonal activities of humpback dolphins are likely to synchronize with environmental fluctuations. This study investigated the effects of seasonal changes in river runoffs on the distribution gradient of humpback dolphins by deploying acoustic data loggers along the Xin Huwei River estuary, Western Taiwan, between July 2009 and September 2012. Seasonal shifts were observed in the areas with high detected duration of humpback dolphins, which mainly stayed near the river mouth during the dry seasons but moved seaward during rainy seasons and following heavy rainfall. In addition, the gradient of ambient ultrasonic pulses, dominated by snapping shrimp sounds, exhibited regional differences following heavy rainfall. The outward movements of the humpback dolphins and the snapping shrimp sounds in the estuary indicated a temporary trophic-system shift in response to local environmental changes resulting from high volumes of river runoffs. In the future, the seasonal variation in the distribution of humpback dolphins must be considered during the conservation management of this critically endangered population.

 

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