Noise in Oceans Concerns Scientists

A report in Foster’s Online, “Oceans getting louder, but effects still unclear” notes rising levels of human-made noise in the oceans. Chris Clark at Cornell University is quoted,

“Their world is just being collapsed,” Clark said. “They rely so heavily on sound. They can’t see anything.”

The article also notes the likely reaction of businesses and policy makers:

Businesses and the military are unlikely to make major changes before more is known.

Brandon Southall, an acoustics researcher at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, said better research is urgently needed.

“People are inherently tied to the ocean for food, for cures to diseases, for weather,” he said. “We’re figuring out things are more interconnected than we ever could have originally envisioned.”

I found the following statement interesting:

Joel Reynolds, director of the Marine Mammal Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said there’s evidence marine mammals are changing their sound patterns or rates, which could show their normal communication has been disrupted.

I think I’ll try to see what studies Reynolds is referring to with this statement. My view is that we don’t yet have a good baseline on what constitutes a normal pattern of sound use. It doesn’t help that model species, like the bottlenose dolphin, have such extreme variability in vocalizations.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.