Noise

Could British navy hunt for Russian sub be linked to whale deaths?

The mass stranding of rare, deep-diving whales along the coast of Ireland last December could be linked to a reported search by British navy warships for a suspected Russian submarine.

Eight rarely sighted Cuvier’s beaked whales have been found off the Irish coast in recent weeks together with a number of  common dolphins, a minke whale, a sperm whale, pilot whales, a fin whale, and harbour porpoises.

US Navy sonar devices could threaten whales and dolphins

The US navy has requested permits to increase training exercises off the Pacific Coast that involve the use of sonar buoys.

The navy wants to deploy up to 720 of the buoys off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and northern California. The devices, about 3ft long and 6in in diameter, send out underwater sound signals so air crews can train to detect submarines, but high levels of noise pollution could harm endangered whales that live in the water.

WDC asks Dutch government to halt loud underwater surveys

WDC is demanding an immediate halt to on-going underwater surveys for oil and gas in Dutch waters, close to the German border and a special area of protection for a vulnerable harbour porpoise population.

‘Air guns’ are used in these surveys and fire loud pulses of sound down into the seabed to locate deposits of crude oil. Noise levels from these ‘guns’ are extreme and sound from them can travel thousands of kilometers through the water.

That‘s just “quackers” …

Back in the 1960's submarines detected a bizarre "quacking" sound in the southern ocean and have been perplexed as to its origins ever since. The noise - nicknamed the "bio-duck" - was only heard during winter and spring months and was attributed to everything from ships to fish, but no-one really knew what was making the noise and until now it was purely guess work. 

Noise pollution reduces whale song

Research has now shown that whales reduce some forms of important communication when excessive man-made noise is introduced to their underwater world. A study of humpback whales  off the coast of Northern Angola has revealed that their singing during the breeding season is reduced in the presence of noise from underwater seismic surveying by oil and gas exploration companies. Song is a major part of the male courtship display in humpback whales and so any reduction could interfere with natural breeding behaviour.

Say It Isn’t So(nar)!

Court approval of naval training range threatens North Atlantic right whales and their newborn calves.

Mass whale stranding linked to extreme man-made noise for the first time

A detailed investigation into a highly unusual mass stranding in May-June 2008 in which about 100 melon-headed whales washed up around the Loza Lagoon, northwest Madagascar has concluded that the cause was likely to have been high levels of underwater noise from sonar used by an oil exploration company to map the seabed. 

The report says that noise  from a high-power 12kHz multibeam echosounder system operated by a survey vessel contracted by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Limited was determined to be the most likely cause of the mass stranding.

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