These are studies of how human-caused noise affects the behaviour, health and survival of animals. One example are sound exposure experiments and behavioural response studies (BRS) which have become an important approach in applied ecology for quantifying the behavioural response of animals to human-induced disturbance. In recent years, much of the research within the marine environment related to behavioural response has focused on marine mammals, in particular cetaceans and their potential vulnerability to disturbance by naval sonar.
These are scientific experiments to test the response of animals to human-caused sounds. Behavioural response studies (BRSs) are experiments aimed at directly quantifying the relationship between potential anthropogenic disturbances and their effect on specific marine mammals. The US Navy is making a substantial investment in BRS studies, aimed at understanding the effect of active sonar on species of concern. Studying these species in ecologically valid settings often requires field experiments. BRS studies are difficult and expensive to conduct, and so sample sizes are necessarily small. Traditional statistical methods for analysis, based on null models and hypothesis testing, do not make best use of the available data, and make it hard to represent accurately the complexity of BRS experimental protocols. We therefore have been developing and implementing innovative statistical methodologies for the analysis of behavioural response study data.
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