Marine mammals rely on sound and hearing as their primary means of communication and sensing their world. Concerns that anthropogenic sound in the ocean could infer their sensing, cause stress or even damage their hearing physically rose a controversial discussion and triggered a worldwide boost in marine bioacoustic research.
Innovative acoustic technologies and field methods are required to provide a basis for carefully designed and technically challenging research projects on free- ranging marine mammals, especially under the harsh environmental conditions of polar regions.
The Ocean Acousticsgroup within the Marine Observing Systems section endeavors multidisciplinary research of environmental scientists, geophysicists, oceanographers, physicists, physiologists, and biologists to investigate the need and scope of mitigation measures for the effects of man-generated sound in the ocean, develop acoustic census techniques, explore marine mammal responses to various anthropogenic sounds, and study the vocal behaviour and hearing physiology of Antarctic marine mammals.
Risk assessmentsimply a comprehensive scientific approach, involve multidisciplinary research, and require corresponding data to be gathered in various field projects.