Marine Bioacoustics: The Importance of Sound in the Marine Environment

Matthew K. Pine

New Zealand Acoustics, 27(2), pp.5- 12 . (2014).

Our understanding of underwater bioacoustics has increased markedly over the last half-century and evidence for the impacts of sound on marine life is overwhelming. Since the 1960ís, background sound levels below 100 Hz has increased by approximately 15 dB in the deep sea. Moreover, anthropogenic sound is estimated to double in intensity every decade in coastal waters in some regions of the world. Currently, regulatory bodies in New Zealand require emitted sound levels from any marine development project be assessed in order to predict the degree of impact on marine life. This process is critical for sustainability and conservation, and there is an urgent need to better understand the impacts of anthropogenic sound on fish and crustaceans. Here, the variety of underwater sounds of biological origin around New Zealand and the potential impacts of anthropogenic sound on fishes and crustaceans is discussed