| Can you hear me here? Managing acoustic habitat in US waters - :13755 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Can you hear me here? Managing acoustic habitat in US waters
  • Published Date:
  • Source:
    Endangered Species Research, 30, 171-186.
Filetype[PDF-628.87 KB]

  • Description:
    Many marine animals have evolved over millions of years to rely on sound as a fundamental component of their habitat. Over the last century, increasing noise from human activities has significantly affected the quality of underwater acoustic habitats. These changes can lead to reduced ability to detect and interpret environmental cues used to perform critical life functions (e.g. select mates, find food, maintain group structure and relationships, avoid predators, navigate). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as the US federal agency with primary responsibility for protecting marine animals and their habitats, is developing an agency-wide strategy that emphasizes the ocean spaces that these animals need, and the importance of acoustic conditions in those places. This strategy seeks to reach beyond initial goals of reducing acute impacts due to noise (protecting hearing and reducing physical harm) to better account for the importance of underwater sound in marine ecosystems. This paper outlines science needs associated with acoustic habitat characterization and the assessment of noise impacts on habitats, which provide information critical to NOAA's prioritization of future place-based research and management. NOAA's spatial management tools are examined relative to acoustic habitat protection goals, which seek to match the ecological scales over which noise is impacting marine wildlife, including endangered species. Recommended actions are identified to address these broad spatial and long temporal scales, including international work on quieting technologies, registries of accumulated noisy events, and an enhanced role for NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries in science, management, and outreach associated with acoustic habitat protection.

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