Size matters: Management of stress responses and chronic stress in beaked whales and other marine mammals may require larger exclusion zones

TitleSize matters: Management of stress responses and chronic stress in beaked whales and other marine mammals may require larger exclusion zones
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWright, Andrew J., Deak Terrence, and Parsons E. C. M.
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume63
Pagination5-9
ISBN Number0025-326X
EndNote Rec Number8524
Keywordscetacean, conservation, Sanctuaries, stress, Survivorship, Underwater noise
Abstract

Marine mammal management traditionally focuses on lethal takes, but non-lethal (or not immediately lethal) impacts of human disturbance, such as prolonged or repeated activation of the stress response, can also have serious conservation implications. The physiological stress response is a life-saving combination of systems and events that maximises the ability of an animal to kill or avoid being killed. However, "chronic stress" is linked to numerous conditions in humans, including coronary disease and infertility. Through examples, including beaked whales and sonar exposure, we discuss increasing human disturbance, mal-adaptive stress responses and chronic stress. Deep-diving and coastal species, and those targeted by whalewatching, may be particularly vulnerable. The various conditions linked with chronic stress in humans would have troubling implications for conservation efforts in endangered species, demands management attention, and may partly explain why some species have not recovered after protective measures (e.g., smaller protected areas) have been put into place.