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Home > Blog > Project to Monitor Shipping Noise Begins

Project to Monitor Shipping Noise Begins

Although shipping is extremely necessary for thousands of businesses throughout the world, there are some problems which are caused by extensive liquid shipping.

One of the main problems is caused to marine life and habitats on some of the busiest of shipping lanes. However, a new system which aims to monitor the amount of noise pollution could see those areas receiving the most noise pollution undergoing steps to reduce those levels.

Of course, the majority of shipping companies are highly responsible and operate with the best possible intentions and actions when it comes to preserving marine life. However, this does little to change the fact that with more people and businesses than ever using chemical shipping companies, there is more traffic within these marine habitats and therefore more disruption to the animals and plants who already live there.

The aim of the new project, which has been developed by a biologist in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, is to identify the level of noise which is created by ocean freight shipping and establish the damage it is causing.

The new study was developed by Nathan Merchant who will study, in the first instance, the effect that shipping is having on his native Scotland and the marine life in the Scottish shipping lanes, which includes Bottlenose dolphins and a variety of seal species. He explains the project, saying “Underwater noise levels have been increasing over recent decades, due to escalations in human activity," says Merchant, referring to shipping, pile-driving, and seismic surveys. "These changes in the acoustic environment affect marine mammals because they rely on sound as their primary sensory mode. The disturbance caused by this human-made noise can disrupt crucial activities like hunting for food and communication, affecting the fitness of individual animals."

Eventually, the project will establish whether the noise levels and any disturbance they cause have an effect on mating with Merchant adding “Right now, the million-dollar question is: Does this disturbance lead to changes in population levels of marine mammals? That's what these long-term studies are ultimately trying to find out."

In addition to studying noise levels and their effect, Merchant will also establish whether different ships and sizes create different noises, and in due course whether they have different effects.