This book presents the papers presented at the Third International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life that took place in August 2013 in Budapest, Hungary. The meeting, like its predecessors in Nyborg, Denmark (2007; Hawkins et al. 2008), and Cork, Ireland (2010; Popper and Hawkins 2012), introduced participants to the most recent research on the effects of man-made noise on aquatic animals and the aquatic environment. Almost 250 scientists, acousticians, engineers, regulators, and representatives of industry and environmental groups from 24 countries came together to share data and ideas and to meet colleagues with interests across the range of topics covered at the meeting. The effects of noise on a wide range of animals were discussed and debated over the 5 days of the conference, as were issues related to different sound sources, national and international regulations, and the interests of industrial and environmental groups. The animals considered included marine mammals, turtles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates.
The various themes of the meeting were chosen to cover the principal subjects of current interest. They included the hearing abilities of aquatic animals; communication by means of underwater sound; the description of aquatic soundscapes; different sound sources and their characteristics; the effects of sound on behavior; and assessing, mitigating, and monitoring the effects of aquatic noise. There is now increasing interest by the general public in the impact of underwater noise, while there is a continuing requirement for governments and industry to conduct formal assessments of the impact of offshore developments. As a consequence, special panels (see the Chapters 159 by Erbe et al., 160 by Johnson and Dolan, 161 by Lewankowski et al., and 162 by Scowcroft) were convened to discuss two especially relevant topics: ways of communicating the results of science to the general public and how best to facilitate closer interaction between regulators and those being regulated.
Papers were submitted by a large number of participants and this generated a very full program. The idea previously tested in Nyborg and Cork of having several sessions of short, rapid-fire presentations about various posters was further developed and proved a great success. The rapid-fire talks added value to the large number of poster presentations and allowed their presenters to draw attention to the wide range of new studies of underwater noise and its effects.
Since the original Nyborg meeting, there has been an enormous increase of interest in underwater noise. The development of offshore renewable energy resources, dredging for aggregates, construction activities, the use of sonars, increases in commercial shipping, and the further development of the offshore oil and gas industry have led to increasing work by scientists and engineers on the effects of this noise. Our three conferences have brought together a whole community of people engaged in work on underwater noise and have enabled a very full exchange of ideas to take place. Many people are now looking forward to the next conference, to be held in 2016 in Dublin.
Finally, a note about the “organization” of this book. From looking over the various chapters, it is clear that they could have been organized any number of ways. This could have been, for example, based on animal groups, sound sources, experimental approaches, and other ways. Since we could not come up with a scheme that we thought would satisfy everyone (or even ourselves), we took the approach that we would present the papers in alphabetical order of the first author, and then let readers either browse the volume or do electronic searches on the PDF or electronic versions of the volume. This decision is, of course, based in part that most people will view the book in electronic form, as is so often the case for new books today.