16 August 2023: New Paper “Stuck in a corner: Anthropogenic noise threatens narwhals in their once pristine Arctic habitat”
The paper “Stuck in a corner: Anthropogenic noise threatens narwhals in their once pristine Arctic habitat” by Outi Tervo (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources) and co-authored by NAMMCO Scientific Committee members, Rikke Guldborg Hansen and Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen was recently published in Science Advances.
In this study, researchers investigated the behaviour of narwhals by collecting and analysing acoustic data on 6 male narwhals tagged in Scoresby Sound (East Greenland). The analyses of behavioural records of the tagged animals revealed that narwhals are extremely sensitive to human-made noise, altering their diving behaviour and foraging activities in response to ship sounds and seismic airgun pulses. The narwhal’s acute sensitivity to disturbances, combined with its specialized ecological niche and habitat fidelity, increases its susceptibility to human impacts (i.e. increase in marine traffic due to climate-induced reduction of sea ice) in the changing Arctic environment.
Preliminary results from this research had been previously presented at the Disturbance Workshop co-organised by NAMMCO and the Joint Commission on Narwhal and Beluga (JCNB) in Copenhagen (Denmark) last December (check the Workshop report here)
You can read the full study by Tervo et al. here.
To learn more about narwhals, visit our species page here.
-Picture by Yvette Cardozo- Alamy-