UACE2023: Fine-scale mapping of marine sound pollution using Sonic Kayaks and citizen science

    • Session:
      Underwater Noise - Modelling and Measurements
    • Paper:
      Fine-scale mapping of marine sound pollution using Sonic Kayaks and citizen science
    • Author(s):
      Joanne Garrett, Amber Griffiths, David Griffiths
    • Abstract:
      Underwater noise pollution directly impacts a wide variety of marine species. Falmouth Bay, UK is an active commercial port with a nearby shipping lane. Ship traffic predominantly transits the centre of the bay affecting the sound levels as recorded from a single location [1]). The degree to which this extends throughout Falmouth Bay is unknown. Understanding the characteristics of underwater noise that marine organisms are exposed to is vital in assessing the impact.\n To date, fine-scale mapping of marine and estuarine noise pollution has been constrained due to a lack of appropriate technology. As such, our understanding of the impacts of noise pollution on wildlife remains limited, and localised conservation management options remain unexplored. Data on the spatial variability of marine noise pollution can inform marine conservation and management strategies. For example, quiet regions may be identified which could then be protected through mitigation measures. Furthermore, biological noise data is increasingly being considered as a measure of biodiversity and fine-scale data offers advantages in this respect.\nFoAM Kernow, in collaboration with sound artist Kaffe Matthews, have developed a “Sonic Kayak” system to record GPS-located underwater sound while kayaking. The kayak system offers advantages in fine-scale, directed spatial coverage as compared to traditional systems and causes limited disturbance. In addition, the person recording the data does not need professional training, enabling a citizen-science approach.\nWe present preliminary findings from developing and testing the Sonic Kayak system. This research will build on previous work on the underwater noise pollution in Falmouth Bay from a single location [1-3] and allow a detailed assessment of the potential impact on marine species throughout Falmouth Bay. With a sufficient volume of data, current levels can be established from which future trends may be identified.\n\n
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    Contact details

    • Contact person:
      Dr Joanne Garrett
    • e-mail:
    • Affiliation:
      University of Exeter
    • Country:
      United Kingdom