Listening to the deep

Artificial noise produced by human activity at sea is threatening the balance of the ocean

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Listening to the deep

Artificial noise produced by human activity at sea is threatening the balance of the ocean
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APPROACH

Artificial noise produced by human activity at sea is threatening the balance of the ocean. This invisible source of pollution, only recently revealed by the latest technological development is affecting the whole food web, from marine invertebrates to mammals, like whales and dolphins, and beyond, is threatening the future of humanity.

The impact of manmade noise on ocean biology is an area of increasing concern to scientists, who have, until recently, lacked a consistent and standardised method of data collection and understanding. This state-of-the-art has changed thanks to LIDO (http://listentothedeep.com), which has helped usher in a new era for marine data resources to describe and understand marine soundscapes. This is currently the only web-based real time Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) system available, anticipating the future broad use of acoustic data at large spatial and temporal scales. This unique approach has had significant impacts on how acoustic-based research is currently conducted worldwide and now allows as well monitoring biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest.

APPROACH

Artificial noise produced by human activity at sea is threatening the balance of the ocean. This invisible source of pollution, only recently revealed by the latest technological development is affecting the whole food web, from marine invertebrates to mammals, like whales and dolphins, and beyond, is threatening the future of humanity.

The impact of manmade noise on ocean biology is an area of increasing concern to scientists, who have, until recently, lacked a consistent and standardised method of data collection and understanding. This state-of-the-art has changed thanks to LIDO (http://listentothedeep.com), which has helped usher in a new era for marine data resources to describe and understand marine soundscapes. This is currently the only web-based real time Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) system available, anticipating the future broad use of acoustic data at large spatial and temporal scales. This unique approach has had significant impacts on how acoustic-based research is currently conducted worldwide and now allows as well monitoring biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest.


100 live audio streams:
the deepest silent ear: 3.000m, the shallowest: 20m
annual maintenance budget: €150.000
cost of a silent ear station: €50.000
RESEARCH

Despite much research in recent years, the effects of underwater sound on marine organisms are still poorly understood. Many marine species, such as whales and dolphins, have highly-developed auditory systems, which they actively use for foraging or social communication, and are one of the more sensitive groups to noise pollution. The known effects of noise pollution on these organisms occur through a variety of sound types – be this through pressure waves or particle motion – with animals exhibiting different sensitivities to sound. Given these differing effects, a variety of characteristics must be measured and the need for a standardised approach to data collection has been recognised and achieved by the LIDO programme.

RESEARCH

Despite much research in recent years, the effects of underwater sound on marine organisms are still poorly understood. Many marine species, such as whales and dolphins, have highly-developed auditory systems, which they actively use for foraging or social communication, and are one of the more sensitive groups to noise pollution. The known effects of noise pollution on these organisms occur through a variety of sound types – be this through pressure waves or particle motion – with animals exhibiting different sensitivities to sound. Given these differing effects, a variety of characteristics must be measured and the need for a standardised approach to data collection has been recognised and achieved by the LIDO programme.


EUROPEAN COMMISSION

The LIDO project initially originated from a European Commission Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) funded project – the European Sea-Floor Observatory Network of Excellence. Spurred on by this early success and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which included consideration of noise, LIDO now extends to all oceans around the world with collaborators from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Project partners vary from expertise in astro-physics at the European ANTARES and Km3NeT neutrino observatories, marine biologists from Europe, Asia, North and South America and further afield, and private offshore industry users. The common link between these disciplines is their ability to use existing noise detectors, or to fit noise detectors to their existing facilities.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

The LIDO project initially originated from a European Commission Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) funded project – the European Sea-Floor Observatory Network of Excellence. Spurred on by this early success and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which included consideration of noise, LIDO now extends to all oceans around the world with collaborators from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Project partners vary from expertise in astro-physics at the European ANTARES and Km3NeT neutrino observatories, marine biologists from Europe, Asia, North and South America and further afield, and private offshore industry users. The common link between these disciplines is their ability to use existing noise detectors, or to fit noise detectors to their existing facilities.


MONITORING

In order to monitor such a wide range of sounds, LIDO has developed a unique software package known as SONS-DCL (http://sonsetc.com). This allows real-time access to data in the existing observatories, allowing them to monitor noise at the spatial and temporal level, which had never before been achieved. By allowing access to the continuous flow of this data, LIDO has developed an exclusive library of sound sources, which is steadily updated and used to further complete the software package, making it useable in almost any scenario independent of sea state, geographic location or noise level. The system has been refined to such a level that it is now capable of analysing data from autonomous radio-linked buoys, underwater vehicles – including gliders – towed arrays and cabled-to-shore systems. And recently, this technology that was born in the ocean is now helping the conservation of land animals, in particular in the Amazon rainforest

MONITORING

In order to monitor such a wide range of sounds, LIDO has developed a unique software package known as SONS-DCL (http://sonsetc.com). This allows real-time access to data in the existing observatories, allowing them to monitor noise at the spatial and temporal level, which had never before been achieved. By allowing access to the continuous flow of this data, LIDO has developed an exclusive library of sound sources, which is steadily updated and used to further complete the software package, making it useable in almost any scenario independent of sea state, geographic location or noise level. The system has been refined to such a level that it is now capable of analysing data from autonomous radio-linked buoys, underwater vehicles – including gliders – towed arrays and cabled-to-shore systems. And recently, this technology that was born in the ocean is now helping the conservation of land animals, in particular in the Amazon rainforest


LIDO

The LIDO system provides a unique opportunity to improve understanding of wildlife, and by allowing open access to large series of data will help to reduce the cost of further research, as well as aiding in the design of protocol and optimising the analysis of results. By providing real-time feedback, LIDO is also capable of offering data on the steps taken to mitigate human activity effects. The technology has been adapted to offer internet-based tools to users, such as oil and gas companies and windmill parks that are taking steps to reduce their noise output. Because of this internet-based nature and the considerable efforts made by LIDO to produce a user-friendly website (http://listentothedeep.com) that a non-expert could operate and understand, LIDO is now internationally recognised as an extraordinary scientific resource. Its concept has definitively changed the way in which research is conducted, not only by making such a large resource accessible to everyone but also to provide all ocean users with a robust tool to mitigate noise effects.

LIDO

The LIDO system provides a unique opportunity to improve understanding of wildlife, and by allowing open access to large series of data will help to reduce the cost of further research, as well as aiding in the design of protocol and optimising the analysis of results. By providing real-time feedback, LIDO is also capable of offering data on the steps taken to mitigate human activity effects. The technology has been adapted to offer internet-based tools to users, such as oil and gas companies and windmill parks that are taking steps to reduce their noise output. Because of this internet-based nature and the considerable efforts made by LIDO to produce a user-friendly website (http://listentothedeep.com) that a non-expert could operate and understand, LIDO is now internationally recognised as an extraordinary scientific resource. Its concept has definitively changed the way in which research is conducted, not only by making such a large resource accessible to everyone but also to provide all ocean users with a robust tool to mitigate noise effects.


100 live audio streams:
the deepest silent ear: 3.000m, the shallowest: 20m
annual maintenance budget: €150.000
cost of a silent ear station: €50.000

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