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New paper quantifies shipping noise impact on whale communication space

August 16, 2012

The latest paper to be published by the research team that’s been studying noise levels in and around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary concludes that in the waters off Boston, increasing shipping noise has reduced the area over which whales can hear each other to about one-third of what it used to be. “We […]

New maps track ships drowning out whale communication

February 23, 2010

Ongoing research in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is providing ever more compelling visualizations of shipping noise and the much quieter calls of whales in the area. Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NMFS, and Cornell have deployed networks of sound recorders, which allow them to track individual whales and ships and see how their […]

Breakthrough technique measures how much ocean noise reduces whales’ communication area

January 6, 2010

I’ve just finished reading what must be the most exciting research paper I’ve seen this year, barely nudging out a similar paper addressing terrestrial noise impacts. A small group of researchers, with Chris Clark of Cornell as the lead author, took a giant step forward in addressing the impacts of ocean noise on the communication […]

SoCal shipping noise: risk and opportunity sites in whale habitat

April 28, 2017

AEI lay summary of Redfern JV, Hatch LT, Caldow C, DeAngelis ML and others (2017) Assessing the risk of chronic shipping noise to baleen whales off Southern California, USA. Endang Species Res 32:153-167. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00797 (open access) A paper published earlier this year (on my birthday; what a nice present!) takes a close look at shipping noise levels […]

Highway noise can block key fish mating calls

May 13, 2015

AEI lay summary of: Daniel E. Holt, Carol E. Johnston. Traffic noise masks acoustic signals of freshwater stream fish. Biological Conservation 187 (2015) 27-33 (ScienceDirect link) With each passing year, we learn more about the ways that animals use sound—and so also how human noise interferes with their lives.  A new paper looks at how traffic noise […]

Fantastic ocean noise presentation from Leila Hatch of NOAA

May 18, 2014

Earlier this month, Leila Hatch, one of NOAA’s leading experts on ocean acoustics and a long-time researcher in and around Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, presented an hour-long talk on ocean noise.  It’s been archived on the Open Channels website, and is available for streaming and download on Vimeo.   It’s by far the best […]

New research listening in on whales as they hunt

December 5, 2013

Two new research projects are taking important next steps in understanding the importance of sound, and clear listening, to whales.  In recent years, ocean bioacousticians have introduced the concept of “communication space” or “effective listening area” to scientific parlance. This began as a conceptual framework for thinking about how human sounds (especially shipping noise) may […]

New paper details the acoustic quality of critical whale habitats

November 27, 2013

AEI lay summary of:R. Williams, C.W. Clark, D. Ponirakis, and E. Ashe.  Acoustic quality of critical habitats for three threatened whale populations.  Animal Conservation (2013). Innovative research along the coast of British Columbia has quantified the degree to which shipping noise is reducing the distance at which whale vocalizations can be heard.  This is one […]

Blue Whale Call Rates Rise Dramatically Near Seismic Survey

September 25, 2009

A new study published in Biological Letters found that a seismic survey in wide bay at the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway caused blue whales feeding and socializing nearby to double or triple their call rates.  The calls were near-range communication signals, rather than the long, loud songs that are heard over hundreds of […]

FWS Wind Farm Siting Recommendations Still Fail to Consider Noise Impacts

June 11, 2009

Call me naive, but I never imagined that the Fish and Wildlife Service would make it nearly to the conclusion of its process of developing Siting Recommendations for wind farms without any consideration of the acoustic footprint of these sprawling industrial installations.  Of all the possible impacts that large wind farms may have, their acoustic […]

“Gliders” Coming of Age for Ocean Acoustic Monitoring

June 5, 2009

One of the more exciting new technologies to come of age in the past couple years is ocean “gliders” that can cruise the seas, silently or nearly so, while collecting data ranging from temperature and salinity to sounds. The gliders are small (roughly 6 feet long), and surface periodically to send data to satellite communication […]