The effects of ship noise on marine mammals--A review

Open Access Article 2019

Frontiers in Marine Science

The number of marine watercraft is on the rise—from private boats in coastal areas to commercial ships crossing oceans. A concomitant increase in underwater noise has been reported in several regions around the globe. Given the important role sound plays in the life functions of marine mammals, research on the potential effects of vessel noise has grown—in particular since the year 2000. We provide an overview of this literature, showing that studies have been patchy in terms of their coverage of species, habitats, vessel types, and types of impact investigated.We identify knowledge gaps: There appears a bias to more easily accessible species (i.e., bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales), whereas there is a paucity of literature addressing vessel noise impacts on river dolphins, even though some of these species experience chronic noise from boats. Similarly, little is known about the potential effects of ship noise on pelagic and deep-diving marine mammals, even though ship noise is focused in a downward direction, reaching great depth at little acoustic loss and potentially coupling into sound propagation channels in which sound may transmit over long ranges. We explain the fundamental concepts involved in the generation and propagation of vessel noise and point out common problems with both physics and biology: Recordings of ship noise might be affected by unidentified artefacts, and noise exposure can be both under- and over-estimated by tens of decibel if the local sound propagation conditions are not considered. The lack of anthropogenic (e.g., different vessel types), environmental (e.g., different sea states or presence/absence of prey), and biological (e.g., different demographics) controls is a common problem, as is a lack of understanding what constitutes the ‘normal’ range of behaviours. Last but not least, the biological significance of observed responses is mostly unknown. Moving forward, standards on study design, data analysis, and reporting are badly needed so that results are comparable (across space and time) and so that data can be synthesised to address the grand unknowns: the role of context and the consequences of chronic exposures.

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

OCEANS 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

T-construction

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

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

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

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