The acoustic communication system of the humpback whale relies on an individual’s ability to maintain contact with conspecifics across various distances. On the Pacific Coast of Colombia, industrial, commercial, and tourist activities that support the livelihood of local communities in Golfo de Tribuga (5°47’N, 77°15’W) may interfere with many humpback whale contact calls. An increase in anthropogenic noise is projected to occur once international port construction near Buenaventura begins as early as 2019, further inhibiting the whales’ communication ability. Our research team will perform a true Before-After Control-Impact (BACI) marine study. In doing so, the amount of acoustic pressure that port construction and its associated subsequent traffic will place on Colombia’s Pacific Coast ecosystem can be quantified, and ultimately help guide the government and local communities to make development decisions that will least impact the endangered humpback whale G stock on their breeding grounds.
The IQOE Science Plan has been reviewed and approved by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), and is available here.
Funding has been obtained to begin initial implementation activities. An IQOE Science Committee has been formed and met for the third time in Bremerhaven, Germany on 12-14 March 2018.
SCOR and POGO staff members will assist project scientists with implementation.
Additional funding is being sought, including for an international project office.