These proceedings are the extended abstracts of the papers presented at the 2010 Second International Meeting on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life that took place in August in Cork, Ireland. The meeting brought together 248 scientists, regulators, and representatives from industry and environmental groups, representing 21 countries from all continents, to hear papers and discuss a broad range of topics focused on underwater sound and its effects on organisms living in the aquatic environment. This meeting followed from the immensely successful first conference that took place in 2007 in Nyborg, Denmark. The Cork meeting was, if anything, more successful that the first meeting in bringing people with different interests and experiences together and in allowing them to get to know one another, learn about new findings, and interact very successfully.
The basis for the first two meetings, and the third which will be help in Europe in August 2013, arises form a concern that has been growing since at least the early 1990s. Humans are adding substantial noise to the aquatic environment, and this noise might have an impact on the quality of life, and even the survival, of aquatic organisms. While the original concern focused on marine mammals, this has changed in more recent years to the point where equal emphasis is now being placed upon fish and, most recently, on invertebrates. Indeed, while fish and marine mammals were well represented in Nyborg, with no representation of invertebrates, we are most pleased that a number of outstanding papers were presented in Cork on invertebrates.
The Cork conference was packed with papers; so many that we extended the idea, first tested at Nyborg, of having groups in rapid-fire presentations in the evening. These were as successful in arousing interest and provoking comment as the longer presentations given at the conference. We can have no doubt that the subject of underwater noise and its impact has come of age and that a community of people with strong interest in this topic has now been formed. We are planning to hold this community together in the period leading up to our next conference.