National Academy of Sciences Reviewing Cumulative Effects of Anthropogenic Stressors on Marine Mammals

The Ocean Studies Board, of The U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council, is performing an Assessment of the Cumulative Effects of Anthropogenic Stressors on Marine Mammals. The assessment committee will conduct a workshop and review the present scientific understanding of cumulative effects of anthropogenic stressors on marine mammals with a focus on anthropogenic sound. The committee will assess current methodologies used for evaluating cumulative effects and identify new approaches that could improve these assessments. The committee will examine theoretical and field methods used to assess the effect of anthropogenic stressors for:

  • Short or infrequent exposure in the context of other known stressors (i.e. multiple stressors, both natural and anthropogenic); and
  • Chronic exposure in the context of other known stressors.

The review of methodologies will begin by focusing on ways to quantify exposure-related changes in the behavior, health, or body condition of individual marine mammals and assess the potential to use quantitative indicators of health or body condition to estimate changes in vital rates and, in turn, estimate the potential population-level effects.

This project is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Marine Mammal Commission.

The approximate start date for the project is May 15, 2015. A final report will be issued at the end of the project. The project duration is 18 months.

The assessment committee’s site is available here.

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