Aquatic noise pollution: implications for individuals, populations, and ecosystems

Hansjoerg P. Kunc, Kirsty Elizabeth McLaughlin, Rouven Schmidt

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98 Citations (Scopus)
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Anthropogenically driven environmental changes affect our planet at an unprecedented scale, and are considered to be a key threat to biodiversity. According to the World Health Organisation, anthropogenic noise is one of the most hazardous forms of anthropogenically driven environmental change and is recognised as a major global pollutant. However, crucial advances in the rapidly emerging research on noise pollution focus exclusively on single aspects of noise pollution, e.g. on behaviour, physiology, terrestrial ecosystems or by focusing on certain taxa. Given that more than two thirds of our planet is covered with water, there is a pressing need to get a holistic understanding of the effects of anthropogenic noise in aquatic ecosystems. We found experimental evidence for negative effects of anthropogenic noise on an individual’s development, physiology, and/or behaviour in both invertebrates and vertebrates. We also found that species differ in their response to noise, and highlight the potential underlying mechanisms for these differences. Finally, we point out challenges in the study of aquatic noise pollution and provide directions for future research, which will enhance our understanding of this globally present pollutant.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Issue number1836
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2016


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