Effects of Sound on Marine Mammals

Sound can affect marine mammals in a broad range of ways. Sound can cause physical injury and effects on hearing, communication masking, stress response, and behavioral effects that can range in severity from no observable response to panic and stranding. There are many factors that affect this broad response range. For example, a marine mammal’s frequency range of hearing compared to a sound source, as well as the intensity and energy from the source that are received by the animal, affect the potential for sound to cause physical injury. Behavioral responses are hard to predict, but the received level of sound intensity contributes to such responses.

Recommended Literature Reviews for More Detailed Information:

Clark et al. 2009. Acoustic masking in marine ecosystems: intuitions, analysis, and implications. Marine Ecology Progress Series 395: 201-222.

NRC. 2005. Marine Mammal Populations and Ocean Noise: Determining When Noise Causes Biologically Significant Effects. Washington DC, The National Academies Press.

Richardson et al. 1995 Marine mammals and noise. San Diego: Academic Press.

Southall et al. 2007 Marine mammal noise exposure criteria: Initial scientific recommendations. Aquatic Mammals 33(4): 411-521.

Wartzok et al. 2003. Factors Affecting the Responses of Marine Mammals to Acoustic Disturbance. Marine Technology Society Journal 37(4):6-15.