JUL 23, 2018 10:05 AM PDT

Why is the ocean getting louder?

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Noise from ship traffic has doubled every decade since the 1960’s, which means that almost anywhere you go in the ocean today, anthropogenic noise dominates. That’s a huge problem for animals that communicate using sound – like our adored echolocation-dependent dolphins and whales. Imagine trying to shout to find your mom during a never-ending hard metal concert – not fun, huh.

But noise from boats and their engines aren’t the only noises that cover the ocean today. A process called seismic surveying that allows companies to locate spots on the ocean floor where they can drill for fossil fuels is perhaps even more destructive than motor noises. During the surveying, boats with about 30-40 air guns will move across large sections of the ocean, exploding the guns all at once over and over again. Each time, it sounds louder than a jet going off. One study has shown that reef fish abundance decreased by 78% after surveying. Curious how this is impacting global fisheries? Watch the video to find out.

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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