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Sound Budgeting Field Trial in Stellwagen Bank

Animal Communication, Bioacoustics, Ocean, Science Add comments

Stellwagen Sanctuary Noise Monitoring to be Model for “Sound Budget” Research Worldwide – The hydrophone array deployed in Stellwagen Bank is far more than a ship-strike warning system; it is the first large field test of what many bioacousticians have been long calling for: a global network of monitoring systems that will dramatically increase our understanding of the distribution of human noise in the world’s oceans, and the ways local animals respond. NOAA researcher Sofie Van Parijs says the Sanctuary is a perfect place to build a case study that can provide a benchmark to scientifically evaluate the impacts and interactions between various human-produced sounds and acoustically-sensitive marine animals. The abundance of endangered whales and human activities in the Sanctuary will help the team address many of the recommendations made by the National Research Council’s committee on the potential impacts of ambient noise in the ocean on marine mammals. The committee has cited the importance of sound in the lives of marine mammals, the potential for harm from excessive noise, and the lack of scientific data as to the amounts of noise introduced into the oceans by human activities and its potential impact on marine mammals. “We need to ground-truth current sampling and analysis techniques and identify gaps that must be addressed prior to implementing a large-scale domestic or international monitoring program,” Van Parijs said. “The products of this project will be a suite of tools designed to be transferable for use in other ecological regions or sanctuaries along with an extensive database of sounds. This project is a first step toward a much larger goal of establishing a global passive acoustic monitoring network to measure ambient noise levels in a variety of locations.” Source: NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center press release, 4/1/08 [READ PRESS RELEASE]

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