Reports of the effects of man-made noise on the behavior and related processes of marine animals are widely scattered among a variety of literature sources. This report brings much of this literature together and attempts a synthesis by a comparative analysis of the results obtained from taxonomically diverse species. Mammals and fishes are emphasized since little is known about the subject in other groups. Field studies have shown aversion by various baleen and toothed whales to the noise accompanying offshore petroleum exploration and production. Variation in response involves: level of source-noise to that of the ambient, degree of naivete of the animals to the source-noise, on-going activity at the time of exposure and, to an uncertain degree, the species involved. Although seals and their relatives have not been adequately examined regarding their response to underwater noise, individuals have been shown to be clearly susceptible (anatomically based) to high levels of such noise. Studies have also shown the deleterious effects of even moderate noise levels on hearing in fishes. Aversion to various types of man-made noise has been noted several times, with associated levels being similar to those noted when similar responses were recorded by whales. Finally, several studies have documented abnormal growth and reproductive processes in several species of fin- and shellfish due to high levels of man-made noise. Such findings should be of concern to the field of aquaculture, since it is dependent on such fundamental processes.
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