Noisy oceans potentially driving whales away from prime habitat

Feb 26, 2014
Killer whale / Orca (Orcinus orca) at surface in front of a herring fishing boat, Kristiansund, Nordmore, Norway, February 2009.Credit: Wild Wonders of Europe /Nils Aukan / WWF

A new report from WWF details the problems increasingly noisy oceans are creating for whales. Those problems include finding mates, finding food, and potentially driving whales away from prime habitat.

"We're finding evidence of increasing levels of noise in all of our oceans" say Aimee Leslie, Global Cetacean and Marine Turtle Manager for WWF. "Large ship traffic, offshore and development, and military exercises are all contributing to a barrage of noise buffeting ocean life. This cacophony is hard on cetaceans that use sound for essential communication. We are particularly concerned about the impacts of sound in previously quiet oceans, such as the Arctic."

The report finds there are methods of both quietening the oceans, and reducing the impacts of noise on whales. Key recommendations include:

  • Immediate action to reduce ocean noise at its source
  • Further research on technologies to reduce noise created by oil exploration, commercial shipping, and pile driving
  • Making parts of the ocean important for off limits to big noise producing activities, especially during sensitive times (such as calving)
  • Swift and effective implementation and regulation based on coming IMO guidelines on reducing noise from shipping.
The Transocean drillship, Discoverer Enterprise, prepares to conduct a recovery operation for BP, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; using a specially built dome at the sea floor in Robert, Louisiana on Monday, 03 May 2010. Credit: United States Coast Guard/Transocean

"The key is taking immediate action to reduce noise where we can," says Leslie. "We can wait for better technologies and more research, but we already have enough information to know is a problem, and we already have some tools to start fixing it."

Explore further: Sound of the ocean not so relaxing

More information: Report online: awsassets.panda.org/downloads/… noise_report_web.pdf

Provided by WWF - Conservation news

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sound of the ocean not so relaxing

Nov 27, 2013

(Phys.org) —The impact of underwater noise on a bottlenose dolphin population in Scotland's Moray Firth will be closely monitored, thanks to a new system developed by scientists at our University and the ...

Marine life gets drowned out as oceans get noisier

Jul 31, 2013

A PhD student from the Department of Physics who recently returned from a trip to lay microphones on the ocean floor off the west coast of Canada is warning of the dangers to marine life from increased ocean ...

Blue whale behavior affected by man-made noise: study

Feb 29, 2012

Blue whale vocal behavior is affected by man-made noise, even when that noise does not overlap the frequencies the whales use for communication, according to new research published Feb. 29 in the open access journal PLoS ON ...

Recommended for you

Seals forage at offshore wind farms

14 hours ago

By using sophisticated GPS tracking to monitor seals' every movement, researchers have shown for the first time that some individuals are repeatedly drawn to offshore wind farms and pipelines. Those man-made ...

Study provides insights into birds' migration routes

16 hours ago

By tracking hybrids between songbird species, investigators have found that migration routes are under genetic control and could be preventing interbreeding. The research, which is published in Ecology Le ...

Technology tracks the elusive Nightjar

17 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bioacoustic recorders could provide us with vital additional information to help us protect rare and endangered birds such as the European nightjar, new research has shown.

User comments : 0