September 25, 2009
Noise Pollution and Acoustic Harassment
Sound oriented creatures can have social lives and foraging habits disruptedMost marine mammals are highly sound-oriented creatures. Whales and dolphins in particular rely on a form of sonar, echolocation, to sense their surroundings. Human activitiesincluding oil and gas exploration, the raising and dismantling of oil rigs, active sonar and explosives testing by the military, the use of noisemakers to deter marine mammals from fishing nets and fish pens, marine experiments that involve the use of loud sounds, and even the increasing level of engine noise from everyday boat and ship trafficmay have far-reaching, long-term debilitating effects on marine mammal hearing, as well as disruptive effects on their social lives and foraging habits.