Shipping noise in a dynamic sea: a case study of grey seals in the Celtic Sea

F. Chen, G. I. Shapiro, Kimberley A. Bennett, S. N. Ingram, D. Thompson, C. Vincent, Debbie J. F. Russell, Clare B. Embling

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    16 Citations (Scopus)
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    Shipping noise is a threat to marine wildlife. Grey seals are benthic foragers, and thus experience acoustic noise throughout the water column, which makes them a good model species for a case study of the potential impacts of shipping noise. We used ship track data from the Celtic Sea, seal track data and a coupled ocean-acoustic modelling system to assess the noise exposure of grey seals along their tracks. It was found that the animals experience step changes in sound levels up to ~20dB at a frequency of 125Hz, and ~10dB on average over 10-1000Hz when they dive through the thermocline, particularly during summer. Our results showed large seasonal differences in the noise level experienced by the seals. These results reveal the actual noise exposure by the animals and could help in marine spatial planning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)372-383
    Number of pages12
    JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
    Issue number1
    Early online date24 Sep 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017


    • Anthropogenic noise
    • Marine animals
    • Sound propagation
    • Acoustic modelling
    • Ocean fronts


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