Noise is the most invisible of all the man-made threats to the ocean, but to whales who ‘see’ by hearing, they simply cannot escape it.
Water is an excellent medium for relaying sound, enabling some species of whale to communicate across entire oceans. However, during the last century, things have started to get loud in the ocean. Increasingly industrialised, the seas can be an inescapable aural assault for marine life; noise is created by ship engines, seabed drilling, seismic blasting, military sonar use, and bomb testing.
Hearing and navigational abilities are one and the same for whales, and so if deafened by, say, a bomb going off underwater, their ability to steer away from unsafe shallow waters is hindered, and they may beach.
Last week, 27 pilot whales were beached ... Read more >