Repetitive shallow dives pose decompression risk in deep-diving beaked whales

  • The impact of naval sonar on beaked whales is of increasing concern. In recent years the presence of gas and fat embolism consistent with decompression sickness (DCS) has been reported through postmortem analyses on beaked whales that stranded in connection with naval sonar exercises. In the present study, we use basic principles of diving physiology to model nitrogen tension and bubble growth in several tissue compartments during normal div ng behavior and for several hypothetical dive profiles to assess the risk of DCS. Assuming that normal diving does not cause nitrogen tensions in excess of those shown to be safe for odontocetes, the modeling indicates that repetitive shallow dives, perhaps as a consequence of an extended avoidance reaction to sonar sound, can indeed pose a risk for DCS and that this risk should increase with the duration of the response. If the model is correct, then limiting the duration of sonar exposure to minimize the duration of any avoidance reaction therefore has the potential to reduce the risk of DCS.

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Author:Walter M. X. Zimmer, Peter L. Tyack
Parent Title (English):Marine mammal science
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2010/10/07
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2010/10/07
Page Number:38
First Page:888
Last Page:925
Institutes:keine Angabe Fachbereich / Extern
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Weitere biologische Literatur (eingeschränkter Zugriff)
Licence (German):License LogoArchivex. zur Lesesaalplatznutzung § 52b UrhG