Noise in the seas ? another anthropogenic problem which could be solved

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Keskiviikko 10.2.2021 klo 14:08 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Sound moves faster and longer in water than in air. Different animals use all sorts of sounds in communication. Dolphins top the list with up to 70000 different sounds. It is probably even higher than human sounds – a person with 20000 words has a good vocabulary. Grey whales’ mating calls travel many kilometers in water in order to reach a suitable mate. Thus, the biogenic sounds are important for the functioning of animal populations in aquatic environment. Notably, when I was a child, and we were angling, one needed to be very quiet so that fish would not hear us, because they would do it a long way away.

With an increase of marine traffic and all sorts of other human endeavours in the seas and their shores, the soundscape of the oceans has changed immensely during the recent decades. Anthropogenic noises have even been suggested to be behind the shoring of whales.  In a recent number of Science (Duarte et al., Science 371, eaba4658 (2021)), Duarte et al. reviewed “The soundscape of the Anthropocene ocean” indicating the many problems for aquatic life. However, it would be possible to modify the anthropogenic sounds so that the soundscape of marine life would be acceptable. Thus, with this human-induced problem it is more or less the same as with climate change: we know what should be done, and we have the technical means to do it. However, we lack the political and economic will to do it.

GREED of the present generation decreases the possibilities for sustainable life of future generations.

Avainsanat: noise pollution, anthropogenic disturbances

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