Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

A simulation approach to assessing environmental risk of sound exposure to marine mammals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Intense underwater sounds caused by military sonar, seismic surveys, and pile driving can harm acoustically sensitive marine mammals. Many jurisdictions require such activities to undergo marine mammal impact assessments to guide mitigation. However, the ability to assess impacts in a rigorous, quantitative way is hindered by large knowledge gaps concerning hearing ability, sensitivity, and behavioral responses to noise exposure. We describe a simulation-based framework, called SAFESIMM (Statistical Algorithms For Estimating the Sonar Influence on Marine Megafauna), that can be used to calculate the numbers of agents (animals) likely to be affected by intense underwater sounds. We illustrate the simulation framework using two species that are likely to be affected by marine renewable energy developments in UK waters: gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) and harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). We investigate three sources of uncertainty: How sound energy is perceived by agents with differing hearing abilities; how agents move in response to noise (i.e., the strength and directionality of their evasive movements); and the way in which these responses may interact with longer term constraints on agent movement. The estimate of received sound exposure level (SEL) is influenced most strongly by the weighting function used to account for the specie's presumed hearing ability. Strongly directional movement away from the sound source can cause modest reductions (~5 dB) in SEL over the short term (periods of less than 10 days). Beyond 10 days, the way in which agents respond to noise exposure has little or no effect on SEL, unless their movements are constrained by natural boundaries. Most experimental studies of noise impacts have been short-term. However, data are needed on long-term effects because uncertainty about predicted SELs accumulates over time. Synthesis and applications. Simulation frameworks offer a powerful way to explore, understand, and estimate effects of cumulative sound exposure on marine mammals and to quantify associated levels of uncertainty. However, they can often require subjective decisions that have important consequences for management recommendations, and the basis for these decisions must be clearly described.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2101-2111
Number of pages11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume7
Issue number7
Early online date28 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

    Research areas

  • Agent-based models, Grey seal, Harbour porpoise, Risk assessment, Underwater sound

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. From physiology to policy: a review of physiological noise effects on marine fauna with implications for mitigation

    Aguilar De Soto, N., Gkikopoulou, K., Hooker, S., Isojunno, S., Johnson, M., Miller, P., Tyack, P., Wensveen, P., Donovan, C., Harris, C. M., Harris, D., Marshall, L., Oedekoven, C., Prieto, R. & Thomas, L., Dec 2016, In : Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. 27, 1, 14 p., 040008.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Environmental Risk Management Capability: Advice on Minimising the Impact of Both Sonar and Seismic Offshore Operations on Marine Mammals

    Mollett, A., Schofield, C., Miller, I., Harwood, J., Harris, C. M. & Donovan, C. R., 2009, Offshore Europe Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition : proceedings : 8-11 September 2009, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center UK, Aberdeen UK. Society of Petroleum Engineers, p. 1-8 8 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  3. Predicting the effects of human developments on individual dolphins to understand potential long-term population consequences

    Pirotta, E., Harwood, J., Thompson, P., New, L., Cheney, B., Arso Civil, M., Hammond, P. S., Donovan, C. R. & Lusseau, D., Nov 2015, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 282, 1818, 9 p., 20152109.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. An interim framework for assessing the population consequences of disturbance

    King, S. L., Schick, R. S., Donovan, C. R., Booth, C. G., Burgman, M., Thomas, L. & Harwood, J., 13 Oct 2015, In : Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 6, 10, p. 1150-1158 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Modelling the biological significance of behavioural change in coastal bottlenose dolphins in response to disturbance

    New, L. F., Harwood, J., Thomas, L., Donovan, C. R., Clark, J., Hastie, G. D., Thompson, P., Cheney, B., Scott Hayward, L. A. S. & Lusseau, D., 2013, In : Functional Ecology. 27, p. 314-322

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Ecology and Evolution (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)
    28 Sep 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Ecology and Evolution (Journal)

    Nora Nell Hanson (Reviewer)
    2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Ecology and Evolution (Journal)

    David Michael Shuker (Member of editorial board)
    2011

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Accounting for preferential sampling in species distribution models

    Pennino, M. G., Paradinas, I., Illian, J. B., Muñoz, F., Bellido, J. M., López-Quílez, A. & Conesa, D., 1 Jan 2019, In : Ecology and Evolution. 9, 1, p. 653-663 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Decline in abundance and apparent survival rates of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence

    Schleimer, A., Ramp, C., Delarue, J., Carpentier, A., Bérubé, M., Palsbøl, P. J., Sears, R. & Hammond, P. S., Apr 2019, In : Ecology and Evolution. 9, 7, p. 4231-4244 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Long-term sound and movement recording tags to study natural behavior and reaction to ship noise of seals

    Mikkelsen, L., Johnson, M., Wisniewska, D. M., van Neer, A., Siebert, U., Madsen, P. T. & Teilmann, J., 6 Feb 2019, In : Ecology and Evolution. Early View, 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Repeat disturbances have cumulative impacts on stream communities

    Haghkerdar, J. M., McLachlan, J. R., Ireland, A. & Greig, H. S., 14 Feb 2019, In : Ecology and Evolution. Early View, 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Social effects on fruit fly courtship song

    Marie-Orleach, L., Bailey, N. W. & Ritchie, M. G., Jan 2019, In : Ecology and Evolution. 9, 1, p. 410-416 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 245264159