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A new study has found that dolphins can not communicate as effectively when they are exposed to human-generated noises. This causes the animals to have to change their sounds and basically do the human equivalent of ‘shout’ to be able to communicate.
Source: Science X/Youtube
A team of researchers from the University of Bristol, the Dolphin Research Center, Syracuse University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Aarhus University, and the University of St. Andrews all collaborated on the study that was published in the journal Current Biology.
“We wanted to investigate how noise impacts animals working together,” said Pernille Sørensen, first author of the paper and PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, in an interview with CNN. “So basically looking at the whole communication network, from a sender to a receiver and whether there is any impact on that transmission.”
Noise Pollution has been proven to be extremely harmful to marine animals. A recent study published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society found that animals like seals and porpoises are screaming at each other like humans have to do at a crowded nightclub.
Many things contribute to noise Pollution under the sea. Seismic testing, ship engines, and underwater turbines are some of the largest contributors. Pile drivers bash huge columns into the seabed to create ocean turbines and many conservationists are begging for them to find another way to do this without causing damaging noise pollution.
For the new study, the researchers concentrated on dolphins because of their highly social nature and the way they communicate with eachother. Dolphins use clicks to echolocate, hunt, and communicate. The scientists worked with two dolphins living at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida.
For the study, the dolphins had to each press an underwater button at the same time. The dolphins were asked to perform the task under ambient noise conditions and under four “noise treatments” meant to simulate human-made underwater noise Pollution. 200 trials were done with the dolphin pair.
They found that as the underwater noise increased, dolphins made louder and larger sounds as well as changed their body language to face eachother. The dolphins were also less successful at the task with higher noise.
Here’s the thing: we did not need this study to know that noise Pollution causes harm to marine animals. The researchers subjected these two captive dolphins to these tests, and what’s worse is the researchers have said they would like to introduce more dolphins into the experiment and expand the testing.
Seismic blasts, along with other human activities, are linked to hearing impairments, difficulties with feeding, and interference with communication, something essential for life between marine animals. Noise Pollution affects marine mammals’ communication and quality of life and even impairs their ability to avoid predators and find food.
Sign this petition to stop seismic testing and fight for these animals to have the quiet oceans that they need!
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- Noise Pollution Found to Harm Over 100 Animal Species
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