The effect of noise on the seafloor

Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

In the article ‘Noise affects life on the seafloor,” we are reminded how invertebrates living in the sea depend on sound to interact with members of their own species. However. the critical sounds for the survival of these marine species are being intruded upon by “human-made sounds” that are entering the waters. The result–the ecosystems of crustaceans, mussels and worms are being put at risk by “sounds from blasting and resource extraction” as well as the “loud drone of cargo ships and recreational boats.” This article also reminds us that the sounds contributed by humans also affect marine mammals as well.

The sounds identified by the researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute were of low-frequency–such sounds, with frequencies between 10 and 500 hertz, can be transmitted over many kilometers. To better understand how these low frequency sounds affected the species, the scientists brought their studies into the laboratory. The scientists did add that further research in the field was needed to better understand the impacts and that such studies are “crucial for the sustainable use of our oceans.”

Yes, human-made sounds affect the health and well-being of individuals but we need to be reminded that human-made sounds are harmful to other species, both on land and in our oceans. These harms to other species only underscore the need to battle noise pollution assertively.

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