Monitoring beaked whale responses to sonar tests at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC)
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As part of an overall project to monitor beaked whales and other odontocete cetaceans at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) using photo-identification methods to contribute to the assessment of possible population-level effects of frequent exposure to sonar, such monitoring was performed from April to May 2011 at the Weapons Range of AUTEC. Although no beaked whales were encountered, there were ten other cetacean sightings during this time, including three sperm and two short-finned pilot whale sightings. During the latter two sightings, eight and seven, respectively, biopsies were collected. A total of 1236 photographs were taken. Initial analysis of the sperm whale identification photographs indicates that none matched any in the existing catalogue of sperm whales from the northern Bahamas.