NMMF Travels to Anchorage, Alaska
Jason Mulsow of the NMMF Environmental Program traveled to Anchorage, Alaska to collect data on underwater and in-air noise from explosive detonations at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson (JBER) in October 2012. The data collected by the Foundation Environmental Program team will be used to help better understand the impact noise has on the Endangered Cook Inlet Beluga whale.
Sound and the Marine Environment
Within the world’s oceans, the only form of energy that travels efficiently is sound. Even radio and other electromagnetic energy waves are attenuated (weakened) in water at a much greater degree than sound. The ability for an animal to use sound as an effective sensing medium in the oceans is dependent on the level of background noise, referred to as ambient noise, as it relates to the sound being received by that animal, and the animal’s ability to hear that sound at particular frequencies and amplitudes.
The National Marine Mammal Foundation’s Environmental Program assesses the impacts anthropogenic sounds in the marine environment have on the hearing of marine species including marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, birds and invertebrates. Currently, the Foundation’s Environmental Program is involved with two projects investigating the potential for noise effects on marine species. The Environmental Program is working with the U.S. Navy to assess potential noise impacts from its training exercises in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; it is also working with the Navy to assess the potential noise impacts associated with activities on the endangered Cook Inlet Beluga whale, its habitat, and its prey.
If you are interested in learning more about these programs, please contact the Director of the Environmental Program.