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Effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals -- a research strategy
Date:9/30/2008

The Marine Board-ESF published its 13th Position Paper, which presents a view from marine mammal specialists on the research needed to assess the effects of anthropogenic sound upon marine mammals.

The research strategy presented in Marine Board Position Paper 13 results from the activities and proceedings of an Expert Group on anthropogenic sound and marine mammals convened at the joint European Marine Board and National Science Foundation (US) Workshop at Tubney House on October 4-8 2005 in Oxford, with financial and logistical support of the Marine Board.

Marine mammals are an important component in the food-chain of the marine biotope. They rely largely on sound for their communication and organisation, but these mechanisms are not completely understood.

The proposed research strategy is of key importance because both marine mammals and many economically important sea-based activities are at risk because of a lack of information about the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals.

Human activities produce a range of underwater sound frequencies that can interfere with marine mammal functions important for their survival.

Use of sound in the ocean has increased due to a growing number of scientific and military applications (e.g. seabed mapping, naval sonar) and many economic ocean-based activities such as oil exploitation and fisheries. This concern has triggered a number of investigations on the impacts of man-made sound on marine mammals, but to date, there has been no structured analysis of the full research challenge it presents.

"A scientific research strategy is clearly needed. First of all, interaction between anthropogenic sound and marine mammals is a complex problem, as the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals depend on many aspects, such as intensity and frequency of sounds, marine mammal species and their age, environmental conditions, etc. In addition, the physiological ef
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Contact: Jan-Bart Calewaert
jbcalewaert@esf.org
32-059-340-170
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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