This document was compiled by RWSC Staff at the request of the Marine Mammal Subcommittee with the assistance and input of a PAM Data Management Work Group. WTork Group members and reviewers of this document included: Melinda Rekdahl (Wildlife Conservation Society); Anita Murray (Wildlife Conservation Society; now Maine Department of Marine Resources); Erin Meyer-Gutbrod (University of South Carolina); Erica Staaterman (BOEM); Genevieve Davis (NOAA NEFSC Passive Acoustics Research Group); Jordan Carduner (Equinor), Laura Morse (Orsted; now Mainstream Renewables); Scott Carr (JASCO); Aaron Rice (Cornell University); Joel Bell (US Navy); Carrie Wall Bell (NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)).
This is a living document that will be updated by the Subcommittee as practices and technologies advance.
This document is also responsive to the needs and priorities expressed at recent workshops and expert working group proceedings, including:
“Standards for PAM reporting” was identified as a Potential Research Idea and Priority during the New York Bight Passive Acoustic Monitoring Workshop in March 2021
The need and foundation for the following best practices document was discussed at the June 2021 BOEM/NOAA workshop Improving Monitoring, Data Consistency, Archiving, and Access for Improved Regional Integration of Renewable Energy Science: Passive Acoustic Monitoring and Marine Mammals
The specific components and building blocks for the following best practices were discussed and many Subcommittee members participated in the March 2022 BOEM/NOAA workshop Improving Monitoring, Data Consistency, Archiving, and Access for Improved Regional Integration of Renewable Energy Science: Passive Acoustic Monitoring Data Standards and Management
The purpose of this document is to address the data collection, management, and storage phases of a long-term/archival PAM project to ensure that while numerous individual entities may be deploying, collecting, and analyzing PAM data, the infrastructure and information exists to facilitate future meta-analyses and syntheses of PAM data across the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). For specific guidance and information regarding PAM systems and their deployment and the PAM capabilities and techniques needed to promote efficient, consistent, and meaningful data collection efforts on local and regional scales, please see the minimum recommendations for PAM usage in offshore wind energy research developed by NOAA and BOEM (Van Parijs et al., 2021). This PAM data management and storage best practices document incorporates by reference many of the specifications and recommendations of Van Parijs et al., 2021. In addition, the multi-year and multi-sector Atlantic Deepwater Ecosystem Observatory Network for the US Mid- and South Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (ADEON) project developed several standardized measurement and processing methods to ensure that the underwater acoustic measurements made over the course of its project can be compared with other monitoring programs’ data. ADEON data guides and specifications are incorporated by reference throughout this document as well.
This document does not directly address or recommend best practices for deploying PAM for real-time detection of marine mammals for mitigation purposes (Table 1). U.S. federal agencies may provide requirements or guidance for the deployment, interpretation, reporting, and management of real-time mitigation PAM data in association with offshore wind (or other activities/uses) permitting. The data generated from real-time systems used for mitigation (i.e., species detections) may be integrated into PAM data products as part of the final step of the workflow described below, with additional considerations for differences in study design, collection methods, and other data analysis steps.
The document is separated into three sections that correspond to a generic workflow for planning, deploying, and analyzing/interpreting long-term archival PAM data, primarily for the purposes of detecting cetaceans. Each section contains several detailed steps that were identified by the RWSC Marine Mammal Subcommittee.