Photo credit: Jeremy Bishop

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

In earlier posts I have written about human-made noises not only adversely impacting the well-being of humans but also the well-being of other species with whom we share this earth, e. g. birds, whales, dolphins. Unsurprisngly, here is another study confirming how harmful human-made noises are to the interaction of dolphins.

Working with a pair of dolphins, a group of researchers at the University of Bristol found that the dolphins had a difficult time interacting and communicating with each other when “increasing levels of noise were played from an underwater speaker.” This despite the fact that the dolphins attempted to change their behavior, e. g. amplifying their whistles and changing their body positions. The percentage of tasks that the dolphins were supposed to complete in the study dropped because of the difficulty they had in working cooperatively.

Moving to the real underwater soundscape, we know that human noise pollution from shipping traffic, drilling, offshore windfarms and the like has been intruding on the ability of sea mammals to interact with each other. Making it more difficult for sea mammals to communicate and interact with each other can eventually “impact on the health of marine populations.”

Pernille Sorensen, the first author of the research cited, rightfully stresses that ways to reduce ocean noise must be explored-–sea mammal survival depends on this.