The transport of goods across the ocean, the search for fossil fuels deep in the seabed and the noise of pleasure craft all combine to cloud the medium that whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals use to communicate. The sounds we’ve added to the ocean makes feeding, navigating and staying in contact with each other much more difficult for these marine mammals. It’s akin to standing next to a highway trying to have a conversation as opposed to doing so next to a country road (Discovery News, June 2010)
The problem doesn’t seem to be limited to cetaceans and pinnipeds. Cephalopods, the squid, octopus and cuttlefish that are favored foods of whales and their kin, also appear to be negatively impacted by human generated noise. Check out this Discovery News article from April 2011.
An article published yesterday in CNN Opinion, by Cornell’s Chris Clark and Brandon Southall, formerly of NOAA, offers some thoughtful suggestions as to how we can combat this problem that we’ve created. We created the technology that makes the noise. We can create the technology that minimizes the noise.
The animal shown in the article is a Risso’s Dolphin.
May you have a quiet weekend, except while you’re cheering on the New England Patriots.