When we think of ocean pollution, we might immediately envision garbage such as plastics and other physical waste. But what about noise?
Canadian-based researchers are studying the effects of human-made noise on aquatic life, specifically North Atlantic right whales. The effects of sonar, underwater explosions, and shipping noises have long been suspected of interfering with aquatic life; however, the extent of impact has not been fully realized. For whales, hearing is a primary sense of orientation. If their environment becomes filled with noise from humans, navigating becomes impacted. Researchers have identified the constant noise of ships to be linked to increased levels of stress in whales, much like humans.
Man-made noise can also interfere with species who use echolocation to find food, and those who use vocalization to communicate and find mating partners across long distances. Whales also are susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss, which could significantly impact their ability to survive.
For more information, check out the reference below.
Bulman A. (2023) The wrong news about North Atlantic right whales: How human noise affects the animals. CBS News (accessed February 2, 2023).
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