Oil Leak 114 Underwater Noise is Bad for Cetaceans

So the latest research suggests this article in the P&J last week caught our eye:


It would appear that, according to the latest research that underwater anthropogenic noise could contribute to standings of whale and dolphins. The article describes cetaceans being exhausted trying to escape human noise.

What’s this got to do with STS? Well, its just another piece in the growing body of evidence that suggest cetaceans are sensitive to underwater noise – think of a “mother” oil tanker, then a couple of daughter vessels, all with engines running 24/7, noisy pumps transferring oil at 2 tonnes per second between vessels and harbour tugs holding the oil tankers in place for a period of 24 hours or more right on top of the area where bottlenose dolphins breed and feed. How the sound dissipates underwater depends on the sound levels produced by each individual ship and pump etc and the peak frequencies as well as the underwater topography. Whatever the modelling says is irrelevant – its not going to do these creatures any good, is it?