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Investigation of the acoustic organs of bycaught Baltic harbour porpoises

Project data

Project leader: Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Project term: 08/2016 - 05/2019
Sponsorship: Umwelt Technik Soziales e.V., Eckernförde
Ostsee-Info-Center Eckernförde

Project description

The ears are a vital organ for harbour porpoises, because they primarily orientate themselves acoustically via echolocation. Furthermore, the acoustic perception enables intraspecific communication and prey location. Therefore, it is important to include the planned investigations of the acoustic organs in a health assessment of this species.

Present state of information has shown that the ears can be damaged by infectious, degenerative and traumatic influences and are no longer entirely functional therefore. Fungal, bacterial and parasitic infections as well as anthropogenic sources of noise, which may damage the ears temporarily but also permanently, are responsible. Anthropogenic sources of noise can be shipping noise, detonations, sonar application and the construction and service of offshore wind farms.

 

Construction works at an offshore wind farm © ITAW

Overall the increased noise exposure may lead to temporal or even permanent limited environmental perception in harbour porpoises and therefore result in an enhanced bycatch probability.

Hence, the ears of bycaught Baltic harbour porpoises are to be examined in the context of this study. First the ears shall be analysed computertomographically, if possible, and subsequently macroscopically, histopathologically, parasitologically and microbiologically.

 

Middle ear of a harbour porpoise with parasitic infection (Stenurus minor) © ITAW

Contact person

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum

 

Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr Ursula Siebert

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Anschrift
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research
Werftstr. 6
25761 Büsum
Kontakt
Tel.:+49 511 856-8158
Fax.:+49 511 856-8181
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