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University of Maryland co-sponsors International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life
Date:8/11/2010

adapted, and which are part of their daily lives. Distant earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and lightning strikes generate intense sounds, travelling over great distances. Sounds from aquatic animals themselves add to the ambient noise. Chorusing fish, snapping shrimps and calling dolphins contribute significantly over a wide band of frequencies, and may mask the detection of other sounds.

The effects of noise pollution often go un-noticed in comparison with more visible pollutants, but are nevertheless important with the expansion of noisy activities, especially in coastal waters. For example, the construction of large wind-farms, planned for waters in many parts of the world, are likely to pose particular concern, especially during construction when piles are driven to support the wind turbines. In addition, the increase in shipping world-wide is adding to the noise levels of the oceans and inland water, and this adds to the general increase in background noise. As yet we do not understand fully the effects of these increasingly high noise levels upon aquatic life.

Conference organisers Professors Arthur Popper and Tony Hawkins have spent their working lives studying underwater noise and its effects upon animals. Their first conference on the effects of noise on aquatic life was held in Denmark in 2007. "We thought that the impact of underwater noise needed to be discussed objectively, and that the best way of achieving that was to bring together all the experts together in one place" said Tony Hawkins, a former Director of Fisheries Research for Scotland and now an independent scientist. "Our first conference proved to be a landmark in reviewing research in this field. Now, three years later, we have decided to look again at the progress made in this fast-moving area of science. Asked why Cork was chosen for this conference Professor Hawkins replied "Cork is an attractive and lively city where people will be able to work hard and debate th
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Contact: Arthur Popper
apopper@umd.edu
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert

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