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Geology LibreTexts

13.2: Noise in the Ocean

[this page is missing info on levels of noise and how this can impact animals. It is also missing a broad picture of how human made noise affects smaller organisms and the ecosystem as a whole]

 

 

 

The ocean is a noisy place. A lot of this sound is natural, but over the past 100 years anthropogenic ocean noise has greatly increased. Sources of these sounds include increased ship traffic, use of sonar, research surveys using high power sound, and oil extraction. Sound moves faster and further in the ocean, meaning its affect on animals is amplified. Ocean noise caused by humans impacts sea life immensely. Commercial shipping is disruptive to large animals, such as cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), who rely on sound for communication and migration. Sonar is especially damaging because its frequency overlaps the frequencies of marine animals and causes confusion, which may lead to beaching, as a form of escape from the noise. Noise pollution has also led to traumas such as cerebral hemorrhages and bursting ear drums in several marine mammals. There have also been many digestive issues noted due to chronic stress from these animals.

noisy-ocean-graphic.jpg

Source: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20...ea/noisy-ocean

Noise pollution interferes with sea life's ability to move freely in the ocean.

 

An example of a seismic air gun used in deep ocean seismic surveys. These air guns produce noise louder than the largest active sonar and are commonly used to survey the ocean floor.

Source: http://guardianlv.com/wp-content/upl...ic-air-gun.jpg

Seismic Air Gun: commonly used in deep ocean seismic surveys.

These air guns produce sounds louder than military active sonar and are

commonly used to survey the ocean floor for oil and topography.