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Journal and Conference Papers, Reports on Specific Topics

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European, American Science Foundations Collaborate on Ocean Noise Research Strategies
Marine Board—European Science Foundation. The effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals: A draft research strategy .Coordinating author: Ian Boyd. Contributing authors: Bob Brownell, Doug Cato, Chris Clark, Dan Costa, Peter Evans, Jason Gedamke, Roger Gentry, Bob Gisiner, Jonathan Gordon, Paul Jepson, Patrick Miller, Luke Rendell, Mark Tasker, Peter Tyack, Erin Vos, Hal Whitehead, Doug Wartzok, Walter Zimmer. [DOWNLOAD REPORT(pdf)]
This important report has just been released, though the workshop at which the ideas were originally developed took place in 2005. An all-star cast of researchers from the US and UK gathered the year after an IEEE workshop on the impacts of seismic surveys on marine mammals (a topic also addressed that year at the IWC), to grapple with how best to coordinate and design future research, to assure that we move efficiently toward answering the key questions surrounding the effects of human sound on ocean life. Acknowledging that most funding sources focus on research that can occur over a relatively short period of time (3-5 years at most), while the key questions (especially concerning population-level effects) can only be answered over much longer timeframes, this report proposes that new research studies be conceived and integrated in the context of a 4-stage process. After introducing the four stages, the report sketches the likely research questions that would unfold over time in three key areas: the effects of active sonar, especially on beaked whales, the effects of seismic surveys on marine mammals, and the effects of shipping noise. In each case, the report details first-layer questions that need to be answered, and then moves to the more detailed studies that could begin to answer these questions. Throughout, there is a keen awareness that one set of research questions must be answered in order to address the next (e.g., we need to know the levels of sound actually being experienced by beaked whales in order to evaluate the responses that are observed, which then will inform studies of longer term impacts on individuals and populations). This is a potentially powerful approach that, were it to be followed through, could provide a much-needed framework for coordinating research in ways that could accelerate the development of much-needed understanding of the effects of noise on ocean life.

Sounding the Depths - Second edition of a comprehensive NRDC report on ocean noise, released November 2005. [WEBSITE]

Orca Network Acoustics Abstracts - Abstracts of many research papers related to orca bioacoustics [WEBSITE]

ICES Impact of Sonar on Cetaceans - An oveview of our current understanding of the physiological and behavioral effects of high, mid, and low frequency sonars on cetaceans. A similar report on fish is forthcoming. Includes broader summaries on ocean noise, as well, and very good references. Among the points worth noting are that sound propagation varies widely with season (in winter remaining close to the surface, while in summer bouncing between surface and bottom), summaries of the various sonars and their effective ranges, the importance of directionality in cetacean hearing (they are far more senstive to sounds from straight ahead than to the side, which could account for the apparent adaptations to loud noise observed in the field), detailed overviews of the two primary non-auditory injury pathways (resonance and rectified diffusion), noting that large whales energy cycle is on the scale of months to a year, while smaller species such as dolphins' energy cycle is in the scale of hours to days, likely making smaller species more susceptible to impacts from temporary displacement due to noise, and case studies of the strandings in the Bahamas, Canaries, and Greece. Released 2005, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, in response to request from European Commission Environment Directorate-General. [DOWNLOAD REPORT(pdf)]

New Zealand Department of Conservation Marine Mammal Action Plan - Comprehensive national planning document, proposes many new programs and studies. Section on acoustics starts on page 66. [DOWNLOAD (pdf)]

NOAA Symposium on Shipping Noise and Marine Mammals - May 2004 meeting, final report released in May 2005. [WEBSITE]

Southern Pacific Whale Research Consortium 2002, 2004 Reports - Multi-year studies of populations, behavior, and acoustics of cetaceans around Australia. [WEBSITE] [2004 REPORT] [2002 REPORT]

Marine Mammal Populations and Ocean Noise: Determining When Noise Causes Biologically Significant Effects - A report from the National Academies of Science Ocean Studies Board, November 2004 - This report is the beginning of a process that aims to develop a model that can be used to estimate the biological effects of non-traumatic impacts of sound on marine mammals (ie, avoidance responses, temporary threshold shifts, etc.). The basic approach suggests that modest effects, such as a change in swimming direction, might be given a fractional value (eg, 1/10,000, which would imply that 10,000 such impacts could equal a mortality). Such models could be combined with cumultative exposure models to provide some sense of the long-term effects of exposure to excess noise. While the approach may be tricky to apply (it is hard or impossible to know how many animals are affected by any given event, or how many events any given animal may be exposed to), it is a step forward from common standard procedure of simply considering all modest impacts to be of "negligible impact." [PRESS RELEASE] [WEBPAGE]

International Symposium on Sound and Marine Mammals - London, 2004, co-sponsored by the US Marine Mammal Commission - Most of the posters and poster abstracts, presentations, and background papers from the workshop are now available. Topics include current international regulatory regimes, summaries of known effects of noise on marine mammals, a new model of the cumulative impacts of various noise sources (which suggests seismic surveys may be challenging shipping for total impact), a look at the precautionary principle, and current mitigation approaches. [WEBSITE]

US Commission on Ocean Policy Releases Cautionary Report - April 20, 2004- The first federal commission to take a "big picture" look at US ocean policy since the 1960s has released a draft of its findings. The "Governors' Draft" is now open for comments from state governors and other stakeholders, including citizens. "Our oceans and coast are in serious trouble," said commission Chariman Admiral James Watkins. "We believe the nation needs a new strategy to handle these problems that have arisen. We're calling on Congress and the President to establish a new national ocean policy that balances use with sustainablity, is based on sound science, and moves toward an ecosystem-based management approach." There is relatively little consideration of noise impacts, though several (out of over a hundred) recommendations mention research or management issues related to sound. Commission Website [WEBSITE] Commission Press Release. 4/20/04 [READ PRESS RELEASE]
News Reports: Bloomberg News, 4/14/04 [READ ARTICLE] Voice of America News, 4/21/04 [READ ARTICLE]

International Bioacoustics Congress- August 2003, Brazil - The following topics were covered: sound propagation in air and water, production and reception of acoustic signals, neuro-ethology of sound communication, evolution and ontogeny of sound communication, learning processes, marine bioacoustics, equipment and techniques for sound analysis, and more. [WEBSITE] [ABSTRACTS]

Right Whale Conservation Seminars - July/August 2003, Woods Hole, MA - A series of seminars sponsored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The web site includes abstracts, as well as QuickTime movies of the lectures and their slides. Includes a seminar by Peter Tyack exploring why Right Whales are succeptible to ship strikes in the busy Bay of Fundy. The lecture describes possible reasons (including confusion caused by being immersed in a sound field of ship traffic filling the bay), and tests of acoustic warning signals, which are shown to cause the whales to surface and thus may increase chances of ship collisions (while also having potential for increasing the efficacy of whale surveys in other applications, such as before industrial or military extreme sound events). [WEBSITE]

Animal Acoustic Communication - July 27-30, 2003, Maryland - The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and the Center for Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing (C-CEBH) at the University of Maryland, College Park, have organized the first International Conference on Acoustic Communication by Animals. The emphasis of the Conference is to integrate information across animal taxa and to enable young investigators and students to meet and share ideas, data, and methods in this growing and exciting field of research with more established investigators. [WEBSITE] [PROGRAM(DOC)]

A Review of Published Research on Low Frequency Sound and its Effects - Published by UK Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Looks at research into human responses to low volume low frequency noise, including sleep disturbance, stress, and annoyance. Includes survey of occurances, and discussion of the individual variability in susceptibility to LF noise. May 2003 [DOWNLOAD REPORT(pdf)]
Related: Low Frequency Noise and Active Control
- A quarterly journal that includes papers on sources, detection, and measurement of low frequency noise, its effects on animals and people, propagation in the air and ground, etc. [WEBSITE]

Symposium On Environmental Consequences of Underwater Sound (ECOUS) - 12-16 May 2003, San Antonio, TX - Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research. A broad-based overview of recent and ongoing research related to the assessment of the effects of manmade underwater sound on marine life, including research on wildlife monitoring, mitigation, and beaked whale impacts. The website includes links to html conference agenda, listing all papers, and to pdf abstracts from each day's presentations. [WEBSITE]

European Cetacean Society: Marine Mammals and Sound - March 2003, La Palma, Canary Islands - Abstracts online; focus is on the use of sound by cetaceans, some papers on effects of anthopogenic sound. [WEBSITE]

Future Directions for Acoustic Marine Mammal Surveys - November 2002, La Jolla, CA - Report from a NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory workshop. Includes abstracts of papers, summary of discussions, and recommendations. The focus is on the promise (and challenges) of passive detection of whales using sound, and establishing dialogue between acoustics experts (who understand sound propagation and acoustic technology) and assessment experts (whose job is to evaluate data relative to specific management goals). Offers a good overview of how early we are in developing basic knowledge; most of the cited research has taken place since the mid 1990's. For many species, crucial baseline information is unknown (such as winter distribution patterns, or the variation in vocal behavior within a group based on age, gender, season, and responses to natural noise sources). Among the key recommendations is working toward the creation of a global "noise map" of the oceans. [REPORT(pdf)]

MIT Seagrant Conference: Passive Acoustics in Fisheries - April 2002, Dedham, MA - Abstracts and research program summaries available online; focus is using sound to study fish populations and behavior. [WEBSITE]

Wild Sanctuary Papers - A collection of conference presentations by Bernie Krause (Ph.D.). [WEBSITE]

Noise Pollution Clearinghouse - Wide-ranging library and bibliography of noise-related research, including effects on humans and animals. [WEBSITE]

Acoustical Society of America - Proceedings of the 142nd Meeting, December 2001.
Lay-language papers [LINKS] Meeting Overview, Links to previous meetings [WEBSITE]

International Conference on Noise and Vibration Engineering - Abstracts of the 2002 conference. [WEBSITE]

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