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Auditory and behavioral responses of...
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GRANT NUMBER: 96-SW-02

REPORT TITLE: Auditory and behavioral responses of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) to single underwater impulses from an arc-gap transducer

AUTHOR: Finneran, James J.; Dear, Randall; Carder, Donald A.; and Ridgway, Sam H.

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ABSTRACT

A behavioral response paradigm was used to measure underwater hearing thresholds in two California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) before and after exposure to underwater impulses from an arc-gap transducer. Preexposure and postexposure hearing thresholds were compared to determine if the subjects experienced temporary shifts in their masked hearing thresholds (MTTS). Hearing thresholds were measured at 1 and 10 kHz. Exposures consisted of single underwater impulses produced by an arc-gap transducer referred to as a “pulsed power device” (PPD). The electrical charge of the PPD was varied from 1.32 to 2.77 kJ; the distance between the subject and the PPD was varied over the range 3.4 to 25 m. No MTTS was observed in either subject at the highest received levels: peak pressures of approximately 6.8 and 14 kPa, rms pressures of approximately 178 and 183 dB re 1 µPa, and total energy fluxes of 161 and 163 dB re 1 µPa2s for the two subjects. Behavioral reactions to the tests were observed in both subjects. These reactions primarily consisted of temporary avoidance of the site where exposure to the PPD impulse had previously occurred.

 
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