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Stressors in the Marine EnvironmentPhysiological and ecological responses; societal implications$
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Martin Solan and Nia Whiteley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718826

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718826.001.0001

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Ecological impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise

Ecological impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise

(p.282) Chapter 16 Ecological impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise
Stressors in the Marine Environment

Jenni A. Stanley

Andrew G. Jeffs

Oxford University Press

Water is an excellent medium for the transmission of underwater sound, with very low attenuation, especially at low frequencies. As a consequence many aquatic organisms use underwater sound for both actively and passively sensing and responding to their environment, often when other sensory modes and cues are otherwise inadequate. Underwater sound also provides an excellent vehicle for communication, and is widely used among aquatic vertebrates in social interactions such as mating, maintaining group cohesion, and predator warning. Anthropogenic sources of underwater sound are many and varied, and very often within the frequency range also used by aquatic organisms. There is strong evidence that the extent of anthropogenic sound being generated in the marine environment is increasing rapidly, due in large part to the expansion of international shipping activity. Consequently, sources of anthropogenic sound are an important stressor in the marine environment, with well-documented impacts on the physiological and behavioural functioning of individuals from a wide range of taxa. However, knowledge of the wider ecological impacts of anthropogenic sound is lacking, is likely to be significant, and needs to be a focus for future research.

Keywords:   anthropogenic underwater sound, ecological impacts, marine organisms

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