Marine Mammal Monitoring

Humpback Whale Jumping Out Of The WaterThe effects of noise on aquatic life is one of the great unknowns of modern marine science. The current state of uncertainty combined with the potential for future consequences has lead many to take precautionary measures. Many standards are being legislated world wide to encourage the protection of marine species.

The human contribution to ocean noise has increased in decades with human noise becoming the dominant component of marine noise in many regions. This noise is directly correlated with the increasing industrialization of the ocean. Sound is an important factor in the lives of marine organisms as many use sound for navigation, finding food, and avoiding predators. Human additions to ocean sound overlap the full range of animal uses for sound in the ocean.

Theories and increasing observations suggest that man-made noise could be approaching levels at which negative effects on marine life may be occurring.  The Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD, implemented by the EU, is encouraging member states to assess their marine environments and create a marine strategy in order to achieve good environmental standing by 2020.

In order to create these strategies anthropogenic noise and its effects on marine wildlife must be studied and thresholds and limits set for regulation. Using passive acoustic monitoring systems including hydrophones help scientists and researchers evaluate noise levels and their effect on marine ecosystems, allowing them to set acceptable levels of anthropogenic noise in our oceans.