Tag: noise

Report from the Georgian International Maritime Forum

Georgia International Maritime Forum

  Through a set of circumstances too Byzantine to unravel here this week I’ve found myself in Batumi, the Republic of Georgia on the coast of the Black Sea delivering and address to the Georgian International Maritime Forum (GIMF) While…

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Noise regulated as a pollutant?

Global Seismic Survey Operations

Just last week a paper was published in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment proposing that noise pollution – and particularly noise pollution from seismic airgun surveys – be qualified and regulated as a pollutant. The points of the article are…

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We’ve come a long way from the “Silent Seas”

It is amazing how many people in the field of ocean science and conservation credit Jacques Cousteau as the inspiration for their love of the sea. Just when color TV was migrating into the American living room Cousteau was offering…

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Fish Ears and Ocean Noise

Although much of the concerns about ocean noise orbits around the impact of noise on marine mammals, I have been equally concerned about the impacts of noise on the fish. At first brush fish don’t seem as charismatic as whales and dolphins; but as a class, fish are rather amazing. They’re also a pretty important feature in marine ecosystems (and the feeding habits of other vertebrates – like us humans). So while public sentiment has driven a lot of research on the impacts of noise on marine mammals (and the resulting protective regulations) fish are also subject to the impacts of human-generated noise.

This shows up occasionally when fishing catches plummet after seismic surveys, or after research team finds that larval fish imprint and navigate to sounds, including sounds that are not natural to their habitat. Noise impacts on fish came up again last week in a published study finding that the recorded sound of ship noise disrupted feeding behavior and foraging success of two species of freshwater fish.

I have a few technical bones to pick with the study: The tanks were much smaller than the wavelengths of most of the disruptive sounds, and the source of ship noise (played back through speakers) would not typically be in such close proximity to the impacted subjects.  But it isn’t really too surprising that unnatural noise disrupts fish behavior; these animals depend on acoustical energy to sense their surroundings – finding prey, avoiding predation, establishing their relations with others, etc. And the paper does provide some numbers to substantiate the case.

With our current state of knowledge about how and what fish do with the sounds they hear it would be difficult to predict how any particular sound might impact any fish in their particular ecosystems. But we know that fish are sound-sensitive so we can assume that they will interact with the sounds of their surroundings. If the sounds are introduced by non-biological sources, it would be a good idea to know how fish respond.

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Ocean noise popping up in the press

It is with a strange ambivalence that I am seeing quite a lot of headlines about ocean noise issues popping up in the popular press. Just some of the issues that have come across my desk in the last few…

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Theory and Practice

This week I find myself at a conference/trade show co-sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Marine Technology Society (MTS) focused on the ocean. This event is bringing together professionals involved in design and fabrication…

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Ultrasound Ocean Noises Pose Risk to Marine Life

Noise pollution has now become one of the common themes of human-generated impacts on the ocean. Shipping noise, military sonar, and seismic airgun surveys are increasingly becoming part of the public discussion in marine conservation. These noises are easy for…

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Arctic Soundscapes now on line!

After a pile of coding, and some deep generosity from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Chris Clark’s lab at Cornell, and the Macaulay Library we are finally launching our Arctic Soundscapes feature on the “Don’t be a Buckethead” website. We launched…

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NYT Report of whales “self-mitigating” for noise exposure a bit misleading.

A New York Times article is making the rounds about how a captive false killer whale has demonstrated a mechanism for attenuating potentially damaging noises. Paul Nachtigall, the principal investigator of the study has conditioned the subject to de-sensitize its…

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Moves to open the Atlantic coast to fossil fuel extraction

We have just submitted our comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the “Atlantic Geological and Geophysical Activities.” The proposals reviewed in the DEIS are for the exploration and mapping of the Mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf for oil…

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