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Mapping Anthropogenic Noise in the Sea – An Aid to Policy Development
by Flora Lichtman and Elena McCarthy

Anthropogenic, or manmade, noise in the ocean has drawn an increasing amount of attention because several marine mammal strandings and deaths have been associated with the use of military sonars. Recent research has shown that noise could interfere with the communication, feeding, migration, reproduction or other behaviors critical to the survival of individuals or populations of marine life.

Researchers at the Marine Policy Center of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are studying a range of management measures that could be used to address the problem of ocean noise pollution. In order to develop effective measures, however, it is essential to identify the activities that produce noise in the sea, the source levels and frequency ranges of these noises, the species that are affected, and the geographic locations where noise could pose the greatest threat. At present, it is not routine for such data to be collected systematically. The little data that exist vary in format, are widely dispersed, and are not utilized for developing conservation measures to protect marine life from noise pollution.

This website is the beginning of an effort to provide a balanced source of information on ocean noise and the activities that generate it to aid in the development of policy instruments.

Source: Minerals Management Service
Source: US Navy
North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium

Background Sources of Sound Policy Instruments Map Resources

Acknowledgements: This website has been supported with a grant from the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, with additional support from the Marine Policy Center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the SACLANT Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia, Italy, and the Environmental Internship Program at Yale University. It was created by Flora Lichtman (Yale University) and Elena McCarthy (Marine Policy Center, WHOI). Additional data was provided by David Wiley (Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary), Leslie Ward (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) and Gregory Silber (NOAA Fisheries, Office of Protected Resources). Andy Beet (Marine Policy Center, WHOI) provided assistance in the design and construction of the webpage.