Tidal Energy, Underwater Noise and Marine Mammals


Title: Tidal Energy, Underwater Noise and Marine Mammals
Publication Date:
May 01, 2014
Conference Name: Environmental Impact of Marine Renewables 2014
Conference Location: Stornoway, Scotland, UK
Pages: 2
Technology Type:

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Carter, C.; Wilson, B.; Burrows, M. (2014). Tidal Energy, Underwater Noise and Marine Mammals [Presentation]. Presented at the Environmental Impact of Marine Renewables 2014, Stornoway, Scotland, UK.

Obtaining energy from renewable sources is currently a key theme in modern society. Consequently, the pace of development of these emerging technologies is likely to increase in the near future, particularly in marine renewables. However, the environmental and ecological impact of many of these new developments in the marine environment is largely unknown. This PhD project [1] focused on one unknown area of interaction; the potential effect of tidal-stream devices on marine mammals. Two commonly cited concerns with respect to marine renewable devices are collision risk and noise impact [2]. Currently, there is very little information available to quantify collision risk, especially when marine mammal behavioural reactions to anthropogenic stimuli are variable and may depend on context [3].


It is well understood that marine mammals use sound and hearing as their primary sense for communication, foraging, navigation and predator avoidance [4] , so it is highly likely that the primary cue for device detection will be acoustic. However, it is not known how operational marine renewable devices might modify the acoustic landscape in these areas, or whether they will be audible to marine mammals in time to alert them to the presence of devices. It has been suggested that the high level of natural and anthropogenic background noise in tidal-stream areas may mask (drown out) the signal of the tidal devices. The acoustic characteristics of underwater noise in shallow coastal waters are also currently not well known.


**Author did not allow the presentation and video to be included.

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