Featured Image Credit: porttechnology.org
Global shipping traffic poses a problem for marine life in multiple ways. The obvious problem is the potential for boat strike deaths that affect many kinds of marine animals, but especially larger whales.
The second problem is the noise created by shipping traffic. That’s right, the underwater effects of that sounds can be deafening to marine life and severely impact their ability to survive. Marine animals typically rely on sounds in multiple ways. They use it to hunt, communicate, and navigate the world around them. However, shipping traffic is drowning out the gentle noises of the ocean.
The noise problem is affecting all marine animals. From small fish to large mammals, everything is being affected.
Matt Pine, a researcher at the University of Victoria, spearheaded a study that focused on reduced ship speed. The hope was that the decrease in speed would also lead to a perceptible decrease in noise.
The decreased speed was more helpful for some animals than others. According to Pine, “Acoustic masking effects are quite dynamic, and slowing down a vessel doesn’t necessarily equal the same benefits for all animals. In this case, the type of vessel was more important with cruise ships reducing their masking effect more if slowed by 10 knots than the container vessels nearer the vessel.”
Hopefully more research into ship adaptations can help to make the ocean a quieter place for the animals that live within it.
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