Find out more about Blue Ocean Watch projects across our oceans

The noise in the ocean is killing tiny animals

Recent discoveries suggest that the noise in the ocean is not just affecting large mammals. It can also impact how well smaller animals grow representing a serious threat to the balance of ocean eco-system, on which we all rely, and therefore – a threat TO US ALL.

Support the North Atlantic All-Women Expedition (NAAWE) to study the effects of sound pollution on the ocean ecosystem.

Cause

With over 50,000 ships around the world, with oil and gas corporations carrying out seismic explorations every few seconds for weeks and months on end, off-shore construction and high intensity military sonar, the ocean is being polluted by constant and unbearably loud underwater noise.

We’ve seen the effects of this noise, causing whales to beach themselves, literally escaping the noise that they’re constantly exposed to in the ocean.

It’s not only large mammals, however, who rely on sound to communicate, and are therefore affected by this.

Tiny animals too, especially in the early stages of their lives, rely on sound as part of their lives and development.

Dr. Raeanne Miller from the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Scottish Association of Marine Science is researching the recent discovery that sound pollution is disrupting the lives of these vitally important tiny animals.

 

Dr. Raeanne Miller from Blue Ocean Watch

Important

It’s important because tiny animals (invertebrates) are the basis of the ocean ecosystem, and humans around the globe depend on them for food. One billion people around the world rely on fish as a primary source of food or income. Fish, mussels, oysters and crabs all feed on tiny animals (plankton) that use sound as a crucial part of their development. If sound disrupts the lives of these animals, the fish we rely on for our sustenance will starve.

Sound pollution is effectively threatening fish stocks and many of the declines in fisheries around the world may be due to this.

So, by upsetting the ocean ecosystem, there’s a threat to us on two counts:

If there were no more plankton and larvae, there would be no more fish in the sea.

And, plankton and algae provide us with half of the oxygen we breath so if they die, we will not survive.

The video

Effects of sound pollution on larvae – Final from Blue Ocean Watch

How you can help

We need to explore and research this issue, to find a solution and remove the threat. With your donations, the Blue Ocean Watch North Atlantic All-Women Expedition (NAAWE), later this year, will do just that. Organised by world-renowned scientists, filmmakers and members of the prestigious Explorers Club of New York, the expedition will leave from Cascais in Portugal and study the waters in the North Atlantic around the Madeira and Savage archipelagos.

Amount to raise

150,000$

All donations are tax-deductible

Questions to answer

What specific kinds of sound are more destructive to the ocean ecosystem and particularly tiny animals and plankton and at what depth?

Dr. Miller will place hydrophones (underwater sound recorders) to record sound in different kinds of ocean habitats, such as reefs, seafloor or man-made structures.

The sound of the reef is an indication, of how well that ecosystem is functioning.

It’s vital to understand how the larvae of the animals that live on those reefs might find each other, find shelter, hunt for food with sound and how sound pollution affects their growth.

A hydrophone, the new, ultra-sensitive technology that’s discovering a whole new world of communication among ocean wildlife.

Action 

As filmmakers, we will film all aspects of the expedition underwater and top-side and record every result.

We will produce beautiful and informative documentaries for television and video stories for social media worldwide, to raise awareness and to pressure shipping companies to adopt better designed more silent propellers and oil and gas corporations to use alternatives to seismic surveying.

Educational video material will also be produced and in partnership with UNESCO, distributed to schools and universities across the world.

Live interactions between the science team and schools and universities will be set up to bring the vital discoveries of the expedition into the classroom.

360º videos will be made for schools, aquariums and social media.

Women’s team

femmes

Boat

The ‘LIBRIES’, a 52ft motor-sailor fitted out for oceanic research including hydrophone sensing, diving, mini drones and Mini ROVs.

LIBRIES Re-FIT from Blue Ocean Watch

You can join us by donating to our cause

Route from Cascais in Portugal to the Madeira and Savage archipelagos.

The expedition costs 150,000$

This will be used for:

  • Research vessel
  • Scientific equipment
  • Diving equipment
  • Production and filming equipment rental
  • Accommodation, flights, and compensation for our technical staff –
  • Coordination of the project
  • Video production