Behavioral response and habituation

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Sounds can result in short-term behavioral responses that range from changes in movement patterns that can only be detected through sophisticated statistical analysis, to more dramatic actions such as marine mammal breaching, rapid swimming, and temporary or permanent displacement from an area. Response is not narrowly predicable and can vary with sex, age, social context and season. Infrequent and minor changes in movement directions, for example, may be completely benign, while recurrent incidents of interrupted feeding and rapid swimming, if sufficiently frequent and of prolonged duration, could have negative effects on the well-being of individuals. Behavioral changes generally are detected at sound intensities higher than the levels at which masking could occur.

Source: Outline for Acoustics Environmental Assessment

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