New studies throw light on the need to reduce human noises in water bodies, proposing that humans have changed the ocean soundscape by immersing natural noises upon which many marine animals ranking from shrimp to sharks, rely on.
As sound travels fast and far in water, the sea creatures use sound to interact, travel, hunt, hide and mate.
As a part of the industrial revolution, humans have started their own underwater noise from shipping vessels, seismic surveys exploring for oil and gas, sonar mapping of the ocean floor, coastal construction, and wind farms. Global warming could further change the ocean soundscape as the melting Arctic opens up more shipping routes and wind and rainfall patterns change.
Yet noise has been conspicuously missing from global assessments of ocean health.
A team led by Carlos Duarte, a renowned professor at KAUST, trawled more than 10,000 papers and extracted the most severe quantitative studies of how noise affects marine animals. “The research goes back nearly 50 years, but this is the first time all the scattered evidence has been assembled and systematically assessed,” says Duarte.
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