Scientist to discuss effect of man-made sounds on marine mammals Saturday

Special to The CambrianNovember 15, 2013 

Thousands of elephant seals crowd the beach near Piedras Blancas. The seals are just one species of marine mammals that populate the ocean off the Central Coast. Others include whales, dolphins, otters and porpoises.

JOAN CROWDER — Special to The Cambrian

“Sound in the Ocean and Marine Mammals: Sources, Effects and Mitigation” is the title of a free talk by Susanna B. Blackwell, Ph.D., sponsored by Friends of the Elephant Seal and set to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday Nov. 16, at Rabobank, 1070 Main St., Cambria.

Dr. Blackwell is a senior scientist at Greenridge Sciences, Inc. She has collected and analyzed acoustic data on man-made sounds in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, to assess their range and impact on marine mammals. She is a member of the Acoustical Society of America, the Society for Marine Mammalogy and the Society for Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence.

Sound levels in the world’s oceans have been increasing since the advent of motorized shipping. Mostly at low frequencies, these sounds are mainly a potential problem for animals whose hearing range includes these frequencies, and who use sound for life functions such as communication or foraging.

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