A global team of researchers set out to understand how human-made noise affects wildlife, from invertebrates to whales, in the oceans, and found overwhelming evidence that marine fauna, and their ecosystems, are negatively impacted by noise. This noise disrupts their behavior, physiology, reproduction, and, in extreme cases, causes mortality. The researchers call for human-induced noise to be considered a prevalent stressor at the global scale and for policy to be developed to mitigate its effects.
The research, led by Professor Carlos M. Duarte from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and published in the journal Science, is eye opening to the global prevalence and intensity of the impacts of ocean noise. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have made the planet, particularly the oceans, noisier through fishing, shipping, infrastructure development, and more, while silencing the sounds from marine animals that dominated the pristine ocean.