Underwater Noise

It turns out that much marine life experiences nuisance from noise caused for example by shipping and construction work. In the past few years, the consensus has been that plastic and fishing cause the greatest problems for non-humans in the North Sea, but human noise in fact also causes considerable nuisance. Many animals in the North Sea actually communicate and navigate via sound. If that sound is disrupted, animals are no longer able to locate each other, and experience problems in direction finding.

Fortunately, there is an increase in research into noise nuisance underwater and sound recordings are being made to determine how much noise is produced by human activity. We are also learning more about the ways in which marine animals hear and communicate.

You could argue that research of this kind is being undertaken on behalf of marine creatures. After all, they are the ones who suffer from human-induced noise nuisance. Through their measurements and models, scientists are as it were representing the marine animals so plagued by noise. The Underwater Noise Team is also interested in that representation process. How, via our measurements and underwater recordings, can we better understand the way in which this underwater soundscape is perceived? And what is the impact of these noises on the cohabitation of the North Sea by humans and non-humans? The Underwater Noise Team consists of artist Xandra van der Eijk, radio maker Jesper Buursink and scientist Katja Phillipart.