Underwater noise levels of pile-driving in a New Zealand harbour, and the potential impacts on endangered Hector's dolphins

Journal Article

Title: Underwater noise levels of pile-driving in a New Zealand harbour, and the potential impacts on endangered Hector's dolphins
Publication Date:
October 01, 2018
Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 135
Pages: 195-204
Publisher: Elsevier
Affiliation:
Stressor:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Leunissen, E.; Dawson, S. (2018). Underwater noise levels of pile-driving in a New Zealand harbour, and the potential impacts on endangered Hector's dolphins. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135, 195-204.
Abstract: 

Impact pile-driving generates loud underwater anthropogenic sounds, and is routinely conducted in harbours around the world. Surprisingly few studies of these sounds and their propagation are published in the primary literature. To partially redress this we studied pile-driving sounds in Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand, during wharf reconstruction after earthquake damage. That Lyttelton harbour is routinely used by Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori), an endangered species found only in New Zealand, provided further context for this study. Steel piles of 0.61 or 0.71 m diameter were driven using three different pile-drivers. Maximum calculated source SEL was 192 dB re 1 mu Pa(2)s @ 1 m (SPL0-p of 213 dB re 1 mu Pa @ 1 m). Propagation of piling noise was strongly influenced by harbour bathymetry and a rock breakwater near the piling operation. We calculated range estimates at which Hector's dolphins may suffer temporary hearing threshold shift and behavioural change.

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