OES-Environmental distributes metadata forms (questionnaires) to solicit information from researchers around the world who are exploring the environmental effects of marine renewable energy. This page provides a description and contact information related to the research. Content is updated on an annual basis.

Understanding the Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance for Marine Mammals

Study Status: 
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Name: John Harwood

Email: jh17@st-andrews.ac.uk

Project Description: 

Loud anthropogenic underwater noise, such as that associated with sonar operations, pile driving, or seismic surveys, can cause behavioral and physiological disturbance to many animals that may affect their survival or ability to breed. However, no formal framework for assessing the population-level consequences of this disturbance is currently available. We describe an interim version of a framework developed by a working group on the population consequences of disturbance, funded by the US Office of Naval Research through the University of California, that can be used to assess the effects of offshore renewable energy developments on marine mammal populations.

Funding Source: 

Work on the development of the interim population consequences of disturbance protocol was supported by contracts to Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) Marine from The Crown Estate, Marine Scotland, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and the Natural Environment Research Council. The work benefited greatly from discussions with participants in a working group supported by Office of Naval Research Grants N00014-09-1-0896 to the University of California, Santa Barbara and N00014-12-1-0274 to the University of California, Davis.

Project Aims: 

To develop and present a simplified model to assess the effects of pile driving on a harbor seal population.

Project Progress: 


Key Findings: 

The protocol we developed for implementing this interim approach requires estimates of the number of animals likely to be exposed to sound levels that could result in death or injury in PTS and in behavioral disturbance during 1 day of construction or operation of a particular development, preferably with an indication of the uncertainty associated with these estimates.

Related Publications: 

Harwood, J.; King, S.; Booth, C.; Donovan, C.; Schick, R.; Thomas, L.; New, L. (2016). Understanding the Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance for Marine Mammals. The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II (pp. 417-423). New York: Springer. https://tethys.pnnl.gov/publications/understanding-population-consequences-acoustic-disturbance-marine-mammals

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