This work package will develop and implement a future-proof passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) program for marine mammals (cetaceans and pinnipeds) for a cross-border network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Using a network of acoustic monitoring stations strategically placed in current and proposed MPAs in the border region of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland, data on mobile species, including harbour porpoises, dolphins, baleen whales as well as seals, will be collected on spatio-temporal scales that are relevant to their large-scale seasonal movements.
Analysis of these data will be combined with existing information on potential threats from anthropogenic pressures, in order to develop comprehensive management and monitoring plans for MPA networks.
By collaborating across institutions and through implementation of an extensive inter-partner mobility program, we will develop and test best practice tools for acoustic data acquisition, analysis and management. These tools will then be deployed in a long-term monitoring program at 10 monitoring sites, of which most will be directly located in current or proposed MPAs.
All partners will participate in report and scientific paper writing and ensuring project legacy beyond the lifetime of the proposed project.
Data analysis of ambient noise levels will follow standards currently under development by the European Union (EU) and the UK. Ambient noise levels will be compared to environmental data such as wind speed, precipitation and wave height to assess their relative impact to the overall soundscape. Oceanographic data collected and modelled will allow the development of robust sound propagation models for this work.