Arctic Climate Predictions: Pathways to Resilient, Sustainable Societies (ARCPATH)
ARCPATH is a NordForsk funded project which includes a sub-project related to marine mammals. Turku University of Applied Sciences will implement the sub-project in cooperation with the University of Iceland.
The aim of the sub-project is to link the distribution of small cetaceans to factors linked to climate change such as changing prey distribution and abundance due to changes in environmental conditions such as sea temperature. Passive acoustic data loggers will be used in two bays in the northern Iceland (Eyjafjordur and Skjalfandi) to monitor the distribution and relative abundance of the small species of cetaceans (such as dolphins and porpoises).
The main focus will be put on the two most regular and abundant odontocete species in the area, the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and the white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris). Both species use echolocation signals for navigation and foraging. These high frequency echolocation clicks can be detected using passive acoustic data loggers to assess the presence and absence of echolocation behaviour which can be linked to relative density of the animals. Previous scientific monitoring efforts of the species in focus from the area are limited and mainly focused on areas and periods of whale watching activities.
The main goal of the project is to survey the spatial as well as the temporal and seasonal distribution and relative abundance of harbour porpoise and white-beaked dolphin in the two bays. The collected data will also be quantitative and comparable baseline information to detect future changes and trends.