Special Issue "Ocean Noise: From Science to Management"

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312). This special issue belongs to the section "Ocean Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2021) | Viewed by 32467

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Michel André
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaTech (UPC), Vilanova i la Geltru, Spain
Interests: bioacoustics engineering and processing; marine ecology; biodiversity & conservation; animal communication; noise effects on marine ecosystems
Prof. Dr. Christine Erbe
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Interests: underwater acoustics; bioacoustics; noise impact on marine fauna

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scientific and societal concern about the effects of underwater sound on marine ecosystems is growing. While iconic megafauna was of initial concern, more and more taxa are being included. Some countries have joined in multi-national initiatives to measure, monitor and mitigate environmental impacts of ocean noise at large, trans-boundary spatial scales. Approaches to regulating ocean noise change as new scientific evidence becomes available, but may also differ by country.

The OCEANOISE conference series has provided a platform for the exchange of scientific results, management approaches, research needs, stakeholder concerns, etc. Attendees have represented various sectors, including academia, offshore industry, defence, NGOs, consultants and government regulators. As this year’s conference was cancelled, a Special Issue of the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is announced as a means of keeping the OCEANOISE community engaged.

We invite the submission of research articles, review papers, as well as opinion papers and commentaries relevant to the management of ocean noise. Focus may be on sound usage by marine and freshwater organisms; soundscapes; sound measurement, modelling and mapping; behavioural, physiological and pathological effects of noise; regulation and mitigation.

All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed and open access. We look forward to receiving your manuscripts.

Prof. Dr. Michel André
Prof. Dr. Christine Erbe
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ocean Noise
  • Ocean Management
  • Ocean Sound Measurement
  • Underwater Noise Modelling & Mapping
  • Underwater Noise Effects
  • Ocean Noise Regulation
  • Ocean Noise Mitigation
  • Underwater Sound Sensing

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

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Article
Farmed Salmon Show No Pathological Alterations When Exposed to Acoustic Treatment for Sea Lice Infestation
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(10), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9101114 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 465
Abstract
The use of bioacoustic methods to address sea lice infestation in salmonid farming is a promising innovative method but implies an exposure to sound that could affect the fish. An assessment of the effects of these techniques related to the salmon’s welfare is [...] Read more.
The use of bioacoustic methods to address sea lice infestation in salmonid farming is a promising innovative method but implies an exposure to sound that could affect the fish. An assessment of the effects of these techniques related to the salmon’s welfare is presented here. The fish were repeatedly exposed to 350 Hz and 500 Hz tones in three- to four-hour exposure sessions, reaching received sound pressure levels of 140 to 150 dB re 1 µPa2, with the goal of reaching total sound exposure levels above 190 dB re 1 µPa2 s. Gross pathology and histopathological analysis performed on exposed salmons’ organs did not reveal any lesions that could be associated to sound exposure. The analysis of their otoliths through electron microscopy imaging confirmed that the sound dose that was used to impair the lice had no effects on the fish auditory organs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
An Acoustic Treatment to Mitigate the Effects of the Apple Snail on Agriculture and Natural Ecosystems
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(9), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9090969 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
Global change is the origin of increased occurrence of disturbance events in natural communities, with biological invasions constituting a major threat to ecosystem integrity and functioning. The apple snail (Pomacea maculata) is a freshwater gastropod mollusk from South America. Considered one [...] Read more.
Global change is the origin of increased occurrence of disturbance events in natural communities, with biological invasions constituting a major threat to ecosystem integrity and functioning. The apple snail (Pomacea maculata) is a freshwater gastropod mollusk from South America. Considered one of the 100 most harmful invasive species in the world, due to its voracity, resistance, and high reproductive rate, it has become a global problem for wetland crops. In Catalonia, it has affected the rice fields of the Ebre Delta since 2010 with significant negative impact on the local economy. As a gastropod mollusc it possesses statocysts consisting of a pair of sacs, one located on each side of the foot, that contain multiple calcium carbonate statoconia. This study shows the first ultrastructural images of pathological changes in the sensory epithelium of the statocyst of apple snail adults with an increase in the severity of the lesions over time after exposure to low frequency sounds. Sound-induced damage to the statocyst could likely result in an inhibition of its vital functions resulting in a potential reduction in the survival ability of the apple snail and lead to an effective mitigation method for reducing damage to rice fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
The Underwater Soundscape at Gulf of Riga Marine-Protected Areas
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(8), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9080915 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1018
Abstract
Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is widely used as an initial step towards an assessment of environmental status. In the present study, underwater ambient sound recordings from two monitoring locations in marine-protected areas (MPAs) of the Gulf of Riga were analysed. Both locations belong [...] Read more.
Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is widely used as an initial step towards an assessment of environmental status. In the present study, underwater ambient sound recordings from two monitoring locations in marine-protected areas (MPAs) of the Gulf of Riga were analysed. Both locations belong to the natural habitat of pinnipeds whose vocalisations were detected and analysed. An increase of vocal activity during the mating period in the late winter was revealed, including percussive signallings of grey seals. The ambient sound spectra showed that in the current shallow sea conditions ship traffic noise contributed more in the higher frequency bands. Thus, a 500 Hz one-third octave band was chosen as an indicator frequency band for anthropogenic noise in the monitoring area. It was shown that changes in the soundscape occurring during the freezing period create favourable conditions for ship noise propagation at larger distances. Based on the monitoring data, the environmental risks related to the anthropogenic sound around the monitoring sites were considered as low. However, further analysis showed that for a small percentage of time the ship traffic can cause auditory masking for the ringed seals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Turning Scientific Knowledge into Regulation: Effective Measures for Noise Mitigation of Pile Driving
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(8), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9080819 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Pile driving is one of the most intense anthropogenic noise sources in the marine environment. Each foundation pile may require up to a several thousand strokes of high hammer energy to be driven to the embedded depth. Scientific evidence shows that effects on [...] Read more.
Pile driving is one of the most intense anthropogenic noise sources in the marine environment. Each foundation pile may require up to a several thousand strokes of high hammer energy to be driven to the embedded depth. Scientific evidence shows that effects on the marine environment have to be anticipated if mitigation measures are not applied. Effective mitigation measures to prevent and reduce the impact of pile driving noise should therefore be part of regulation. The role of regulators is to demonstrate and assess the applicability, efficiency and effectiveness of noise mitigation measures. This requires both, scientific knowledge on noise impacts and the consideration of normative aspects of noise mitigation. The establishment of mitigation procedures in plans and approvals granted by regulatory agencies includes several stages. Here, we outline a step-wise approach in which most of the actions described may be performed simultaneously. Potential measures include the appropriate maritime spatial planning to avoid conflicts with nature conservation, site development for offshore wind farms to avoid undesirable activities in time and space, coordination of activities to avoid cumulative effects, and the application of technical noise abatement systems to reduce noise at the source. To increase the acceptance of noise mitigation applications, technical measures should fulfil a number of requirements: (a) they are applicable and affordable, (b) they are state-of-the-art or at least advanced in development, (c) their efficiency can be assessed with standardised procedures. In this study, the efficiency of noise mitigation applied recently in offshore wind farm construction projects in the German North Sea is explained and discussed with regard to the regulation framework, including the technical abatement of impulsive pile driving noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Sea Lice Are Sensitive to Low Frequency Sounds
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(7), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9070765 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
The salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is a major disease problem in salmonids farming and there are indications that it also plays a role in the decline of wild salmon stocks. This study shows the first ultrastructural images of pathological changes in the sensory [...] Read more.
The salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is a major disease problem in salmonids farming and there are indications that it also plays a role in the decline of wild salmon stocks. This study shows the first ultrastructural images of pathological changes in the sensory setae of the first antenna and in inner tissues in different stages of L. salmonis development after sound exposure in laboratory and sea conditions. Given the current ineffectiveness of traditional methods to eradicate this plague, and the strong impact on the environment these treatments often provoke, the described response to sounds and the associated injuries in the lice sensory organs could represent an interesting basis for developing a bioacoustics method to prevent lice infection and to treat affected salmons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Noise Waveforms within Seabed Vibrations and Their Associated Evanescent Sound Fields
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(7), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9070733 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 474
Abstract
While the effects of sound pressures in water have been studied extensively, very much less work has been done on seabed vibrations. Our previous work used finite element modeling to interpret the results of field trials, studying propagation through graded seabeds as excited [...] Read more.
While the effects of sound pressures in water have been studied extensively, very much less work has been done on seabed vibrations. Our previous work used finite element modeling to interpret the results of field trials, studying propagation through graded seabeds as excited by impulsive energy applied to a point. A new simulation has successfully replicated further features of the original observations, and more field work has addressed other questions. We have concentrated on the water-particle motion near the seabed, as this is well known to be critical for benthic species. The evanescent pressure sound fields set up as the impulsive vibration energy passes are expected to be important for the local species, such as crabs and flatfish. By comparison with effects occurring away from boundaries, these seismic interface waves create vigorous water-particle motion but proportionately less sound pressure. This comparative increase ratio exceeds 12 for unconsolidated sediment areas, as typically used for piling operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
A Case Study of Whistle Detection and Localization for Humpback Dolphins in Taiwan
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(7), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9070725 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 712
Abstract
In recent years, Taiwan’s government has focused on policies regarding offshore wind farming near the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin habitat, where marine mammal observation is a critical consideration. The present research developed an algorithm called National Taiwan University Passive Acoustic Monitoring (NTU_PAM) to assist [...] Read more.
In recent years, Taiwan’s government has focused on policies regarding offshore wind farming near the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin habitat, where marine mammal observation is a critical consideration. The present research developed an algorithm called National Taiwan University Passive Acoustic Monitoring (NTU_PAM) to assist marine mammal observers (MMOs). The algorithm performs whistle detection processing and whistle localization. Whistle detection processing is based on image processing and whistle feature extraction; whistle localization is based on the time difference of arrival (TDOA) method. To test the whistle detection performance, we used the same data to compare NTU_PAM and the widely used software PAMGuard. To test whistle localization, we designed a real field experiment where a sound source projected simulated whistles, which were then recorded by several hydrophone stations. The data were analyzed to locate the moving path of the source. The results show that localization accuracy was higher when the sound source position was in the detection region composed of hydrophone stations. This paper provides a method for MMOs to conveniently observe the migration path and population dynamics of cetaceans without ecological disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Hindcasting Soundscapes before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Selected Areas of the North Sea and the Adriatic Sea
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(7), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9070702 - 26 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
The national measures in several European countries during the COVID-19 pandemic also affected offshore human activities, including shipping. In this work, the temporal and spatial variations of shipping sound are calculated for the years before and during the pandemic in selected shallow water [...] Read more.
The national measures in several European countries during the COVID-19 pandemic also affected offshore human activities, including shipping. In this work, the temporal and spatial variations of shipping sound are calculated for the years before and during the pandemic in selected shallow water test areas from the Southern North Sea and the Adriatic Sea. First, the monthly sound pressure level maps of ships and wind between 2017 and 2020 are calculated for frequencies between 100 Hz to 10 kHz. Next, the monthly changes in these maps are compared. The asymptotic approximation of the hybrid flux-mode propagation model reduces the computational requirements for sound mapping simulations and facilitates the production of a large number of sound maps for different months, depths, frequencies, and ship categories. After the strictest COVID-19 measures were applied in April 2020, the largest decline was observed for the fishing, passenger and recreational ships. Although the changes in the number of fishing vessels are large, their contribution to the soundscape is minor due to their low source level. In both test areas, the spatial exceedance levels and acoustic energies were decreased in 2020 compared to the average of the previous three years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Source Levels of 20 Hz Fin Whale Notes Measured as Sound Pressure and Particle Velocity from Ocean-Bottom Seismometers in the North Atlantic
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(6), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060646 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1313
Abstract
Source level is one factor that determines the effectiveness of animal signal transmissions and their acoustic communication active space. Ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) are platforms of opportunity to monitor marine species because they record data as pressure fluctuations in the water using a hydrophone [...] Read more.
Source level is one factor that determines the effectiveness of animal signal transmissions and their acoustic communication active space. Ocean-bottom seismometers (OBS) are platforms of opportunity to monitor marine species because they record data as pressure fluctuations in the water using a hydrophone and/or as particle velocity of the seabed using a seismometer. This study estimates source levels of 20 Hz fin whale notes recorded simultaneously in these two OBS channels and in two areas of the North Atlantic (Azores and southwest Portugal). It also discusses factors contributing to the variability of the estimates, namely geographical (deployment areas), instrumental (recording channels and sample size), and temporal factors (month of detected notes, inter-note interval, and diving duration). The average source level was 196.9 dB re 1 µPa m for the seismometer (derived from particle velocity measurements) and 186.7 dB re 1 µPa m for the hydrophone. Variability was associated with sample size, instrumental characteristics, acoustic propagation, and month of recordings. Source level estimates were very consistent throughout sequences, and there was no indication of geographical differences. Understanding what causes variation in animal sound source levels provides insights into the function of sounds and helps to assess the potential effects of increasing anthropogenic noise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Acoustic Pressure, Particle Motion, and Induced Ground Motion Signals from a Commercial Seismic Survey Array and Potential Implications for Environmental Monitoring
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(6), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060571 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1192
Abstract
An experimental marine seismic source survey off the northwest Australian coast operated a 2600 cubic inch (41.6 l) airgun array, every 5.88 s, along six lines at a northern site and eight lines at a southern site. The airgun array was discharged 27,770 [...] Read more.
An experimental marine seismic source survey off the northwest Australian coast operated a 2600 cubic inch (41.6 l) airgun array, every 5.88 s, along six lines at a northern site and eight lines at a southern site. The airgun array was discharged 27,770 times with 128,313 pressure signals, 38,907 three-axis particle motion signals, and 17,832 ground motion signals recorded. Pressure and ground motion were accurately measured at horizontal ranges from 12 m. Particle motion signals saturated out to 1500 m horizontal range (50% of signals saturated at 230 and 590 m at the northern and southern sites, respectively). For unsaturated signals, sound exposure levels (SEL) correlated with measures of sound pressure level and water particle acceleration (r2= 0.88 to 0.95 at northern site and 0.97 at southern) and ground acceleration (r2= 0.60 and 0.87, northern and southern sites, respectively). The effective array source level was modelled at 247 dB re 1µPa m peak-to-peak, 231 dB re 1 µPa2 m mean-square, and 228 dB re 1 µPa2∙m2 s SEL at 15° below the horizontal. Propagation loss ranged from −29 to −30log10 (range) at the northern site and −29 to −38log10(range) at the southern site, for pressure measures. These high propagation losses are due to near-surface limestone in the seabed of the North West Shelf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
It Often Howls More than It Chugs: Wind versus Ship Noise Under Water in Australia’s Maritime Regions
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(5), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9050472 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1487
Abstract
Marine soundscapes consist of cumulative contributions by diverse sources of sound grouped into: physical (e.g., wind), biological (e.g., fish), and anthropogenic (e.g., shipping)—each with unique spatial, temporal, and frequency characteristics. In terms of anthropophony, shipping has been found to be the greatest (ubiquitous [...] Read more.
Marine soundscapes consist of cumulative contributions by diverse sources of sound grouped into: physical (e.g., wind), biological (e.g., fish), and anthropogenic (e.g., shipping)—each with unique spatial, temporal, and frequency characteristics. In terms of anthropophony, shipping has been found to be the greatest (ubiquitous and continuous) contributor of low-frequency underwater noise in several northern hemisphere soundscapes. Our aim was to develop a model for ship noise in Australian waters, which could be used by industry and government to manage marine zones, their usage, stressors, and potential impacts. We also modelled wind noise under water to provide context to the contribution of ship noise. The models were validated with underwater recordings from 25 sites. As expected, there was good congruence when shipping or wind were the dominant sources. However, there was less agreement when other anthropogenic or biological sources were present (i.e., primarily marine seismic surveying and whales). Off Australia, pristine marine soundscapes (based on the dominance of natural, biological and physical sound) remain, in particular, near offshore reefs and islands. Strong wind noise dominates along the southern Australian coast. Underwater shipping noise dominates only in certain areas, along the eastern seaboard and on the northwest shelf, close to shipping lanes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Severity Scoring of Behavioral Responses of Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to Novel Continuous versus Conventional Pulsed Active Sonar
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(4), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9040444 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1614
Abstract
Controlled exposure experiments (CEEs) have demonstrated that naval pulsed active sonar (PAS) can induce costly behavioral responses in cetaceans similar to antipredator responses. New generation continuous active sonars (CAS) emit lower amplitude levels but more continuous signals. We conducted CEEs with PAS, CAS [...] Read more.
Controlled exposure experiments (CEEs) have demonstrated that naval pulsed active sonar (PAS) can induce costly behavioral responses in cetaceans similar to antipredator responses. New generation continuous active sonars (CAS) emit lower amplitude levels but more continuous signals. We conducted CEEs with PAS, CAS and no-sonar control on free-ranging sperm whales in Norway. Two panels blind to experimental conditions concurrently inspected acoustic-and-movement-tag data and visual observations of tagged whales and used an established severity scale (0–9) to assign scores to putative responses. Only half of the exposures elicited a response, indicating overall low responsiveness in sperm whales. Responding whales (10 of 12) showed more, and more severe responses to sonar compared to no-sonar. Moreover, the probability of response increased when whales were previously exposed to presence of predatory and/or competing killer or long-finned pilot whales. Various behavioral change types occurred over a broad range of severities (1–6) during CAS and PAS. When combining all behavioral types, the proportion of responses to CAS was significantly higher than no-sonar but not different from PAS. Responses potentially impacting vital rates i.e., with severity ≥4, were initiated at received cumulative sound exposure levels (dB re 1 μPa2 s) of 137–177 during CAS and 143–181 during PAS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Effects of Sound from Seismic Surveys on Fish Reproduction, the Management Case from Norway
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(4), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9040436 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Anthropogenic noise has been recognized as a source of concern since the beginning of the 1940s and is receiving increasingly more attention. While international focus has been on the effects of noise on marine mammals, Norway has managed seismic surveys based on the [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic noise has been recognized as a source of concern since the beginning of the 1940s and is receiving increasingly more attention. While international focus has been on the effects of noise on marine mammals, Norway has managed seismic surveys based on the potential impact on fish stocks and fisheries since the late 1980s. Norway is, therefore, one of very few countries that took fish into account at this early stage. Until 1996, spawning grounds and spawning migration, as well as areas with drifting eggs and larvae were recommended as closed for seismic surveys. Later results showed that the effects of seismic surveys on early fish development stages were negligible at the population level, resulting in the opening of areas with drifting eggs and larvae for seismic surveys. Spawning grounds, as well as concentrated migration towards these, are still closed to seismic surveys, but the refinement of areas and periods have improved over the years. Since 2018, marine mammals have been included in the advice to management. The Norwegian case provides a clear example of evidence-based management. Here, we examine how scientific advancements informed the development of Norwegian management and how management questions were incorporated into new research projects in Norway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
A Reference Spectrum Model for Estimating Source Levels of Marine Shipping Based on Automated Identification System Data
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(4), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9040369 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
Underwater sound mapping is increasingly being used as a tool for monitoring and managing noise pollution from shipping in the marine environment. Sound maps typically rely on tracking data from the Automated Information System (AIS), but information available from AIS is limited and [...] Read more.
Underwater sound mapping is increasingly being used as a tool for monitoring and managing noise pollution from shipping in the marine environment. Sound maps typically rely on tracking data from the Automated Information System (AIS), but information available from AIS is limited and not easily related to vessel noise emissions. Thus, robust sound mapping tools not only require accurate models for estimating source levels for large numbers of marine vessels, but also an objective assessment of their uncertainties. As part of the Joint Monitoring Programme for Ambient Noise in the North Sea (JOMOPANS) project, a widely used reference spectrum model (RANDI 3.1) was validated against statistics of monopole ship source level measurements from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program. These validation comparisons resulted in a new reference spectrum model (the JOMOPANS-ECHO source level model) that retains the power-law dependence on speed and length but incorporates class-specific reference speeds and new spectrum coefficients. The new reference spectrum model calculates the ship source level spectrum, in decidecade bands, as a function of frequency, speed, length, and AIS ship type. The statistical uncertainty (standard deviation of the deviation between model and measurement) in the predicted source level spectra of the new model is estimated to be 6 dB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Marine Acoustic Zones of Australia
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(3), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9030340 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1200
Abstract
Underwater sound is modelled and mapped for purposes ranging from localised environmental impact assessments of individual offshore developments to large-scale marine spatial planning. As the area to be modelled increases, so does the computational effort. The effort is more easily handled if broken [...] Read more.
Underwater sound is modelled and mapped for purposes ranging from localised environmental impact assessments of individual offshore developments to large-scale marine spatial planning. As the area to be modelled increases, so does the computational effort. The effort is more easily handled if broken down into smaller regions that could be modelled separately and their results merged. The goal of our study was to split the Australian maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into a set of smaller acoustic zones, whereby each zone is characterised by a set of environmental parameters that vary more across than within zones. The environmental parameters chosen reflect the hydroacoustic (e.g., water column sound speed profile), geoacoustic (e.g., sound speeds and absorption coefficients for compressional and shear waves), and bathymetric (i.e., seafloor depth and slope) parameters that directly affect the way in which sound propagates. We present a multivariate Gaussian mixture model, modified to handle input vectors (sound speed profiles) of variable length, and fitted by an expectation-maximization algorithm, that clustered the environmental parameters into 20 maritime acoustic zones corresponding to 28 geographically separated locations. Mean zone parameters and shape files are available for download. The zones may be used to map, for example, underwater sound from commercial shipping within the entire Australian EEZ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
It Is Not Just a Matter of Noise: Sciaena umbra Vocalizes More in the Busiest Areas of the Venice Tidal Inlets
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(2), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9020237 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1431
Abstract
Boat noise is known to have a detrimental effect on a vulnerable Mediterranean sciaenid, the brown meagre Sciaena umbra. During summer 2019, two acoustic surveys were conducted at 40 listening points distributed within the inlet areas of Venice (northern Adriatic Sea). Two [...] Read more.
Boat noise is known to have a detrimental effect on a vulnerable Mediterranean sciaenid, the brown meagre Sciaena umbra. During summer 2019, two acoustic surveys were conducted at 40 listening points distributed within the inlet areas of Venice (northern Adriatic Sea). Two five-minute recordings were collected per each point during both the boat traffic hours and the peak of the species’ vocal activity with the aims of (1) characterizing the local noise levels and (2) evaluating the fish spatial distribution by means of its sounds. High underwater broadband noise levels were found (sound pressure levels (SPLs)50–20kHz 107–137 dB re 1 μPa). Interestingly, a significantly higher background noise within the species’ hearing sensibility (100–3150 Hz) was highlighted in the afternoon (113 ± 5 dB re 1 μPa) compared to the night (103 ± 7 dB re 1 μPa) recordings due to a high vessel traffic. A cluster analysis based on Sciaena umbra vocalizations separated the listening points in three groups: highly vocal groups experienced higher vessel presence and higher afternoon noise levels compared to the lower ones. Since the species’ sounds are a proxy of spawning events, this suggests that the reproductive activity was placed in the noisier part of the inlets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
A Modeling Comparison of the Potential Effects on Marine Mammals from Sounds Produced by Marine Vibroseis and Air Gun Seismic Sources
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9010012 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1694
Abstract
Concerns about the potential environmental impacts of geophysical surveys using air gun sources, coupled with advances in geophysical surveying technology and data processing, are driving research and development of commercially viable alternative technologies such as marine vibroseis (MV). MV systems produce controllable acoustic [...] Read more.
Concerns about the potential environmental impacts of geophysical surveys using air gun sources, coupled with advances in geophysical surveying technology and data processing, are driving research and development of commercially viable alternative technologies such as marine vibroseis (MV). MV systems produce controllable acoustic signals through volume displacement of water using a vibrating plate or shell. MV sources generally produce lower acoustic pressure and reduced bandwidth (spectral content) compared to air gun sources, but to be effective sources for geophysical surveys they typically produce longer duration signals with short inter-signal periods. Few studies have evaluated the potential effects of MV system use on marine fauna. In this desktop study, potential acoustic exposure of marine mammals was estimated for MV and air gun arrays by modeling the source signal, sound propagation, and animal movement in representative survey scenarios. In the scenarios, few marine mammals could be expected to be exposed to potentially injurious sound levels for either source type, but fewer were predicted for MV arrays than air gun arrays. The estimated number of marine mammals exposed to sound levels associated with behavioral disturbance depended on the selection of evaluation criteria. More behavioral disturbance was predicted for MV arrays compared to air gun arrays using a single threshold sound pressure level (SPL), while the opposite result was found when using frequency-weighted sound fields and a multiple-step, probabilistic, threshold function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Acoustic Characteristics of Small Research Vessels
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(12), 970; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8120970 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
Vessel noise is an acute and chronic stressor of a wide variety of marine fauna. Understanding, modelling and mitigating the impacts of this pollutant requires quantification of acoustic signatures for various vessel classes for input into propagation models and at present there is [...] Read more.
Vessel noise is an acute and chronic stressor of a wide variety of marine fauna. Understanding, modelling and mitigating the impacts of this pollutant requires quantification of acoustic signatures for various vessel classes for input into propagation models and at present there is a paucity of such data for small vessels (<25 m). Our study provides this information for three small vessels (<6 m length and 30, 90 and 180 hp engines). The closest point of approach was recorded at various ranges across a flat, ≈10 m deep sandy lagoon, for multiple passes at multiple speeds (≈5, 10, 20, 30 km h−1) by each vessel at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Radiated noise levels (RNLs) and environment-affected source levels (ASLs) determined by linear regression were estimated for each vessel and speed. From the slowest to fastest speeds, median RNLs ranged between 153.4 and 166.1 dB re 1 µPa m, whereas ASLs ranged from 146.7 to 160.0 dB re 1 µPa m. One-third octave band-level RNLs are provided for each vessel–speed scenario, together with their interpolated received levels with range. Our study provides data on source spectra of small vessels to assist in understanding and modelling of acoustic exposure experienced by marine fauna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Article
Above and below: Military Aircraft Noise in Air and under Water at Whidbey Island, Washington
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(11), 923; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8110923 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3927
Abstract
Military operations may result in noise impacts on surrounding communities and wildlife. A recent transition to more powerful military aircraft and a national consolidation of training operations to Whidbey Island, WA, USA, provided a unique opportunity to measure and assess both in-air and [...] Read more.
Military operations may result in noise impacts on surrounding communities and wildlife. A recent transition to more powerful military aircraft and a national consolidation of training operations to Whidbey Island, WA, USA, provided a unique opportunity to measure and assess both in-air and underwater noise associated with military aircraft. In-air noise levels (110 ± 4 dB re 20 µPa rms and 107 ± 5 dBA) exceeded known thresholds of behavioral and physiological impacts for humans, as well as terrestrial birds and mammals. Importantly, we demonstrate that the number and cumulative duration of daily overflights exceed those in a majority of studies that have evaluated impacts of noise from military aircraft worldwide. Using a hydrophone deployed near one runway, we also detected sound signatures of aircraft at a depth of 30 m below the sea surface, with noise levels (134 ± 3 dB re 1 µPa rms) exceeding thresholds known to trigger behavioral changes in fish, seabirds, and marine mammals, including Endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Our study highlights challenges and problems in evaluating the implications of increased noise pollution from military operations, and knowledge gaps that should be prioritized with respect to understanding impacts on people and sensitive wildlife. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
A Review and Meta-Analysis of Underwater Noise Radiated by Small (<25 m Length) Vessels
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(8), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9080827 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1435
Abstract
Managing the impacts of vessel noise on marine fauna requires identifying vessel numbers, movement, behaviour, and acoustic signatures. However, coastal and inland waters are predominantly used by ‘small’ (<25 m-long) vessels, for which there is a paucity of data on acoustic output. We [...] Read more.
Managing the impacts of vessel noise on marine fauna requires identifying vessel numbers, movement, behaviour, and acoustic signatures. However, coastal and inland waters are predominantly used by ‘small’ (<25 m-long) vessels, for which there is a paucity of data on acoustic output. We reviewed published literature to construct a dataset (1719 datapoints) of broadband source levels (SLs) from 17 studies, for 11 ‘Vessel Types’. After consolidating recordings that had associated information on factors that may affect SL estimates, data from seven studies remained (1355 datapoints) for statistical modelling. We applied a Generalized Additive Mixed Model to assess factors (six continuous and five categorical predictor variables) contributing to reported SLs for four Vessel Types. Estimated SLs increased through ‘Electric’, ‘Skiff’, ‘Sailing’, ‘Monohull’, ‘RHIB’, ‘Catamaran’, ‘Fishing’, ‘Landing Craft’,’ Tug’, ‘Military’ to ‘Cargo’ Vessel Types, ranging between 130 and 195 dB re 1µPa m across all Vessel Types and >29 dB range within individual Vessel Types. The most parsimonious model (22.7% deviance explained) included ‘Speed’ and ‘Closest Point of Approach’ (CPA) which displayed non-linear, though generally positive, relationships with SL. Similar to large vessels, regulation of speed can reduce SLs and vessel noise impacts (with consideration for additional exposure time from travelling at slower speeds). However, the relationship between speed and SLs in planing hull and semi-displacement vessels can be non-linear. The effect of CPA on estimated SL is likely a combination of propagation losses in the shallow study locations, often-neglected surface interactions, different methodologies, and that the louder Vessel Types were often recorded at greater CPAs. Significant effort is still required to fully understand SL variability, however, the International Standards Organisation’s highest reporting criteria for SLs requires water depths that often only occur offshore, beyond the safe operating range of small vessels. Additionally, accurate determination of monopole SLs in shallow water is complicated, requiring significant geophysical information along the signal path. We suggest the development of appropriate shallow-water criteria to complete these measurements using affected SLs and a comprehensive study including comparable deep- and shallow-water measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Review
When Is Temporary Threshold Shift Injurious to Marine Mammals?
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(7), 757; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9070757 - 09 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
Evidence for synaptopathy, the acute loss of afferent auditory nerve terminals, and degeneration of spiral ganglion cells associated with temporary threshold shift (TTS) in traditional laboratory animal models (e.g., mice, guinea pigs) has brought into question whether TTS should be considered a non-injurious [...] Read more.
Evidence for synaptopathy, the acute loss of afferent auditory nerve terminals, and degeneration of spiral ganglion cells associated with temporary threshold shift (TTS) in traditional laboratory animal models (e.g., mice, guinea pigs) has brought into question whether TTS should be considered a non-injurious form of noise impact in marine mammals. Laboratory animal studies also demonstrate that both neuropathic and non-neuropathic forms of TTS exist, with synaptopathy and neural degeneration beginning over a narrow range of noise exposures differing by ~6–9 dB, all of which result in significant TTS. Most TTS studies in marine mammals characterize TTS within minutes of noise exposure cessation, and TTS generally does not achieve the levels measured in neuropathic laboratory animals, which have had initial TTS measurements made 6–24 h post-exposure. Given the recovery of the ear following the cessation of noise exposure, it seems unlikely that the magnitude of nearly all shifts studied in marine mammals to date would be sufficient to induce neuropathy. Although no empirical evidence in marine mammals exists to support this proposition, the regulatory application of impact thresholds based on the onset of TTS (6 dB) is certain to capture the onset of recoverable fatigue without tissue destruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
Review
The Use of Psychoacoustics in Marine Mammal Conservation in the United States: From Science to Management and Policy
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(5), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9050507 - 08 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1719
Abstract
Underwater sound generated from human activities has been long recognized to cause adverse effects on marine mammals, ranging from auditory masking to behavioral disturbance to hearing impairment. In certain instances, underwater sound has led to physical injuries and mortalities. Research efforts to assess [...] Read more.
Underwater sound generated from human activities has been long recognized to cause adverse effects on marine mammals, ranging from auditory masking to behavioral disturbance to hearing impairment. In certain instances, underwater sound has led to physical injuries and mortalities. Research efforts to assess these impacts began approximately four decades ago with behavioral observations of large whales exposed to seismic surveys and rapidly progressed into the diverse field that today includes studies of behavioral, auditory, and physiological responses of marine mammals exposed to anthropogenic sound. Findings from those studies have informed the manner in which impact assessments have been and currently are conducted by regulatory agencies in the United States. They also have led to additional questions and identified information needed to understand more holistically the impacts of underwater sound, such as population- and species-level effects, long-term, chronic, and cumulative effects, and effects on taxa for which little or no information is known. Despite progress, the regulatory community has been slow to incorporate the best available science in marine mammal management and policy and often has relied on outdated and overly simplified methods in its impact assessments. To implement conservation measures effectively, regulatory agencies must be willing to adapt their regulatory scheme to ensure that the best available scientific information is incorporated accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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Review
Use of Underwater Acoustics in Marine Conservation and Policy: Previous Advances, Current Status, and Future Needs
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(2), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9020173 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2014
Abstract
The interdisciplinary field of assessing the impacts of sound on marine life has benefited largely from the advancement of underwater acoustics that occurred after World War II. Acoustic parameters widely used in underwater acoustics were redefined to quantify sound levels relevant to animal [...] Read more.
The interdisciplinary field of assessing the impacts of sound on marine life has benefited largely from the advancement of underwater acoustics that occurred after World War II. Acoustic parameters widely used in underwater acoustics were redefined to quantify sound levels relevant to animal audiometric variables, both at the source and receiver. The fundamental approach for assessing the impacts of sound uses a source-pathway-receiver model based on the one-way sonar equation, and most numerical sound propagation models can be used to predict received levels at marine animals that are potentially exposed. However, significant information gaps still exist in terms of sound source characterization and propagation that are strongly coupled with the type and layering of the underlying substrate(s). Additional challenges include the lack of easy-to-use propagation models and animal-specific statistical detection models, as well as a lack of adequate training of regulatory entities in underwater acoustics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Noise: From Science to Management)
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