A brief review of known effects of noise on marine mammals.

Open Access Literature Review 2007

International Journal of Comparative Psychology

Marine mammals, especially cetaceans, are highly vocal and dependent on sound for almost all aspects of their lives, e.g. food-finding, reproduction, communication, detection of predators/hazards, and navigation. They are thus likely sensitive to anthropogenic noise. Sound has a large potential area of impact, sometimes covering millions of square kilometers of ocean with levels high enough to cause possible disturbance in marine mammals. There can be great variation in the reaction of marine mammals to noise, depending on such factors as species, individual, age, sex, prior experience with noise, and behavioral state. Species with similar hearing capabilities can respond differently to the same noise. Observed effects of noise on marine mammals include: changes in vocalizations, respiration, swim speed, diving, and foraging behavior; displacement, avoidance, shifts in migration path, stress, hearing damage, and strandings. Responses of marine mammals to noise can often be subtle and barely detectable, and there are many documented cases of apparent tolerance of noise. However, marine mammals showing no obvious avoidance or changes in activities may still suffer important, even lethal, consequences. Acoustically-induced strandings may displace a local beaked whale (Ziphiidae) population (for an extended period if not permanently) or even possibly eliminate most of its members. As beaked whales seem to be found in small, possibly genetically isolated, resident populations, even a transient and localized acoustic impact could have prolonged population consequences. Observed reactions to noise in marine mammals could theoretically result in impacts such as decreased foraging efficiency, higher energetic demands, less group cohesion, higher predation, decreased reproduction, and thus seriously impact the population. Alternatively, they may be harmless. However, noise is thought to contribute to at least some species’ declines or lack of recovery (Southern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) , western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) off Sakhalin).

Link To Publication

Similar Research

Responses of Bottlenose Dolphins to Construction and Demolition of Underwater Structures

Open Access Report 2006

Mote Marine Laboratory

Of all of the anthropogenic noise sources in the marine environment, construction and demolition noise and their effects have received perhaps the least attention, and yet...
Read More

A Summary of Existing and Future Potential Treatments for Reducing Underwater Sounds from Oil and Gas Industry Activities

Pay-walled Conference 2007


This paper summarizes the efforts undertaken by the author to identify existing and future potential methods to reduce underwater sound levels created by nearly all oil...
Read More

Likely sensitivity of bottlenose dolphins to pile-driving noise

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

Water and Environment Journal

Pile driver-generated noise has the potential to affect dolphin populations adversely as it is detectable up to 40 km from the source. At 9 kHz, this...
Read More

Tolerance by ringed seals (Phoca hispida) to impact pipe-driving and construction sounds at an oil production island

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

During June and July 2000, impact pipe-driving sounds at Northstar Island (Prudhoe Bay, Alaska) were recorded underwater and in air at distances 63–3000 m from the...
Read More

Effects of underwater noise on auditory sensitivity of a cyprinid fish

Pay-walled Journal Article 2001

Hearing Research

The ability of a fish to interpret acoustic information in its environment is crucial for its survival. Thus, it is important to understand how underwater noise...
Read More

Criteria and Thresholds of U.S. Navy Acoustic and Explosive Effects Analysis.

Open Access Report 2012

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Centre Pacific

Sounds produced from naval activities can be divided into seven categories: (1) Sonars and other active acoustic sources; (2) Explosive detonations; (3) Ship noise; (4) Aircrafts...
Read More

Seal monitoring and evaluation for the Gemini offshore windpark: T-construction

Open Access Report 2016


1. Gemini offshore windfarm is located 55 km north of the island of Schiermonnikoog. The construction works for the 150 wind turbines and electrical infrastructure were...
Read More

Pressure pulse characteristics of deep explosions as functions of depth and range.

Open Access Report 1967

Naval Ordnance Laboratory

Thirty-eight TNT ant 18 HBX-3 charges weighing one, eight, and fifty pounds were fired at depths betweeen 500 and 14,000 ft; pressure-time data were measured directly...
Read More
Keywords: Depth, Explosion, Pressure

Ambient Underwater Noise Levels at Norra Midsjöbanken during Construction of the Nord Stream Pipeline.

Open Access Journal Article 2012

Nord Stream

Norra Midsjöbanken is a Natura 2000 area situated approximately 50 km east of the southern tip of Öland island in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)....
Read More

Agreement in Principal for Interim Criteria for Injury to Fish from Pile Driving Activities.

Open Access Meeting documents, Notices 2008

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A letter to discuss the agreement of interim criteria for injury to fish from pile driving activities....
Read More
Keywords: Fish, Injury, Pile driving