OCEAN CACOPHONY A TORMENT FOR SEA MAMMALS

2 dolphins in shallow blue green water

Bottlenose dolphins' ability to orient themselves to find food and reproduce is being harmed by noise pollution in the ocean. Click to enlarge this image. Corbis

By Staff
AFP
Dec 7, 2011

The constant thump of oil and gas exploration and military testing has made ocean noise levels unbearable for some sea mammals.

With the constant churn of freighter propellers, the percussive thump of oil and gas exploration and the underwater din of military testing, ocean noise levels have become unbearable for some sea mammals.

Contrary to the image of a distant and silent world under the sea, underwater sound intensity has on average soared 20 decibels over the past 50 years, with devastating consequences for wildlife.

“Sound is what cetaceans (large aquatic mammals like whales and dolphins) communicate with. This is how they perceive their environment. For them, hearing is as important as vision is for us,” explained Mark Simmonds, the international director of science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).
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