Ship noise, Renewable energy, AIS data, Time-lapse, Marine mammals, Acoustic disturbance
Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Marine Biology | Oceanography | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
The potential impacts of underwater noise on marine mammals are widely recognised, but uncertainty over variability in baseline noise levels often constrains efforts to manage these impacts. This paper characterises natural and anthropogenic contributors to underwater noise at two sites in the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation, an important marine mammal habitat that may be exposed to increased shipping activity from proposed offshore energy developments. We aimed to establish a pre-develop- ment baseline, and to develop ship noise monitoring methods using Automatic Identification System (AIS) and time-lapse video to record trends in noise levels and shipping activity. Our results detail the noise levels currently experienced by a locally protected bottlenose dolphin population, explore the relationship between broadband sound exposure levels and the indicators proposed in response to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and provide a ship noise assessment toolkit which can be applied in other coastal marine environments.
Merchant, N. D., Pirotta, E., Barton, T. R., & Thompson, P. M. (2014). Monitoring ship noise to assess the impact of coastal developments on marine mammals. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 78(1), 85-95.
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