Topics for Future Research

Aims of research should be:

To determine the normal behaviors of marine mammals in the wild and their behavioral responses to human-made acoustic signals.

To determine how marine mammals utilize natural sounds for communication and for maintaining their normal behavioral repertoire.

To determine the responses of free-ranging marine mammals to human-made acoustic stimuli, including repeated exposure to the same individuals. How is the use of natural sounds altered by the presence of human-made sounds?

To determine how different sound types and levels affect migration and other movement patterns of marine mammals.

To determine the responses of deep-diving marine mammals to low-frequency sounds whose characteristics (source level, frequency, bandwidth, duty cycle) duplicate or approximate those produced by acoustic oceanographers.

To determine the structure and capabilities of the auditory system in marine mammals.

To determine basic hearing capabilities of various species of marine mammals.

To determine hearing capabilities of larger marine mammals that are not amenable to laboratory study.

To determine audiometric data on multiple animals in order to understand intraspecific variance in hearing capabilities.

Determine sound-pressure levels that produce temporary and permanent hearing loss in marine mammals.

To determine morphology and sound conduction paths of the auditory system in various marine mammals.

To determine whether low-frequency sounds affect the behavior and physiology of organisms that serve as part of the food chain for marine mammals.

To develop tools that can enhance observation and data gathering regarding marine mammal behavior or that can protect the animals from intense human-made sounds.

To develop tags that can be used for long-term observations of marine mammals, including studies on physiological condition, location (in three dimensions), sound exposure levels, and acoustic behavior.

To develop means of using in-place acoustic monitoring devices to study marine mammal movement and behavior on an ocean basin scale and of following individuals or groups of animals for extended periods and distances.

To develop procedures for rapid determinations of hearing capabilities

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