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Sound waves, Effects of underwater noise on coastal fish and crustaceans behavioural responses in the field - ME5205

The recent expansion of offshore activities in UK waters has increased concern regarding the impact of anthropogenic underwater noise on marine ecosystems. This especially relates to its inclusion in Descriptor 11 ‘Introduction of energy, including underwater noise’ of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive for determining Good Environmental Status.

Given these concerns, Defra commissioned the project ME5205 to provide new evidence of the fate, effects and consequences of this stressor in the sea. This research will also be of benefit in informing industry and guide regulatory and consenting agencies.
To provide an evidence-based tool to forecast the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine fauna. This will be the first experiment of its type in the field. Specific aims are:

(i) to produce a technical review of marine sound pollution and its known effects on marine biota
(ii) to parameterise and intercalibrate acoustic metrics to describe a range of noise polluting activities in both their pressure and particle velocity components
(iii) to apply baited UWTV and sonar tracking in the field to produce experimental evidence of a range of behavioural responses by exposing wild, naive fish to controllable noise exposure (synthetic playback or real devices);
(iv) to define both exposure levels and thresholds (damage, avoidance behaviour, startle responses) in appropriate acoustic metrics to calibrate predicted responses and ultimately predict effects on populations using typical acoustic signatures of noise-polluting activities
(v) to link the project findings to the loss of ecosystem functionality due to noise pollution and then to the socio-economic valuation of marine goods and services.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : ME5205 Underwater Noise Evid 4 Final Report   (1410k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2013

Cost: £554,442
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Newcastle, University - Hull, Loughine Limited, Subacoustech Environmental Limited