Technology requirements to investigate the effects of sound on marine wildlife

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There is little information about the effects of sound on marine life. In spite of this high uncertainty, several new legal limits to sound levels in the marine environment are being introduced. This paper summarises the conclusions
drawn at a workshop that took a prospective view of the technological developments necessary in order to make signifi cant progress with reducing these uncertainties. These developments would mainly aim to further the understanding of how sound may affect some of the most vulnerable marine species. The most important methods available to examine the effects of
sound will involve the development of instruments that measure the received levels of sound at the animal and its behavioural response. The availability of power to operate instruments used in remote sensing is the main factor that limits most aspects of technology capability. Alternatives need to be developed to using sparse data (from a few instruments that are attached to animals or that are widely spaced), and a coordinated approach is required between commercial
suppliers and academics to overcome the current constraints, foster innovation and turn new approaches into operational tools. There is also a need to improve
the technology used to attach instruments to animals, particularly in the case of small cetaceans. Improved bandwidth for data communication, recovery or
retrieval is likely to develop alongside other innovations as a result of improvements in large-scale infrastructure such as satellite systems. There is scope for innovation of sensors to improve the ability to measure behavioural/physiological response variables such as heart and/or respiration rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalUnderwater Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • noise, impacts, marine mammals, measurement, animal-borne instruments


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