Ocean Noise Pollution and its Harmful Effects on Aquatic Mammals

This topic submitted by Allison Carlascio ( Carlasal@miamioh.edu) at 3:28 PM on 4/25/07.

Larry is all smiles in the Bahamas

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Pollution is not just a terrestrial issue anymore. With a growing use for underwater acoustics, and both man-made and natural noise sources, underwater noise pollution has been proven to have severely damaging affects to the ocean, and all the inhabitants in it, especially aquatic mammals. I will discuss the sources that are contributing to these severe physiological and behavioral problems that present many creatures of the sea. I will also explain specific effects this increased level of noise has and most importantly present some preventative actions to hopefully reverse the detrimental damage that has already been done.

I) Introduction
-description of Ocean Noise Pollution
-key harmful effects for marine mammals

II) Main sources of Noise Pollution
-seismic surveys of oil exploration
-military SONARS
-Naval underwater weapons
-commercial SONARS

III) Key points of Destruction: affects of ONP
-mating troubles, communication problems
-Echolocation (dolphins) and foraging for food
-indirect effect from prey
-Hearing loss in whales
-different severities and what it includes
- Mechanism of Hearing in whales

IV) Protection Acts/Laws
-Endangered Species Act
-International Whaling Commission
-National Defense Authorization Act

V) Current News
-Beached whales
-Bahamas strandings
-Preventative Actions
-ocean zoning

VI) Conclusion


Cummings, Jim. Brandon, Natalie. SONIC IMPACT: A Precautionary Assessment of Noise Pollution from Ocean Seismic Surveys. Acoustic Ecology Institute. Greenpeace USA. June 2004.

McCarthy, Elena M. International Regulation of Underwater Sound. University of Rhode Island. Kingston, RI. 2000.

Ocean Noise Pollution Fact Sheet. Pacific Whale Foundation.

Ecology: A Roaring Debate Over Ocean Noise. Science Magazine. David Malakoff. January 2001. http://www.sciencemag.org.

Ocean Noise Pollution has Increased Considerably Since 1960Ős.
WhatŐs Next in Science and Technology. August 18, 2006. http://www.whatsnextnetwork.com

Discovery of Sound in the Sea. University of Rhode Island. Office of Marine Programs. http://www.dosits.org/animals/use/2a.htm

Darlene R. Ketten, Ph. D. Marine Mammal Auditory Systems: A Summary of Audiometric and Anatomical Data and its Implications for Underwater Acoustic Impacts. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Harvard Medical School. http://www.solcomhouse.com/auditory.htm

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