Marine Pollution Bulletin (2018)

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.10.051


Marine renewable energy (MRE) developments often coincide with sites frequented by small cetaceans. To understand habitat use and assess potential impact from development, echolocation clicks were recorded with acoustic click loggers (C-PODs) in Swansea Bay, Wales (UK). General Additive Models (GAMs) were applied to assess the effects of covariates including month, hour, tidal range and temperature. Analysis of inter-click intervals allowed the identification of potential foraging events as well as patterns of presence and absence. Data revealed year-round presence of porpoise, with distinct seasonal and diel patterns. Occasional acoustic encounters of dolphins were also recorded. This study provides further evidence of the need for assessing temporal trends in cetacean presence and habitat use in areas considered for development. These findings could assist MRE companies to monitor and mitigate against disturbance from construction, operation and decommissioning activities by avoiding times when porpoise presence and foraging activity is highest in the area.