Solutions @ Underwater Radiated Noise

Underwater radiated noise (URN) emitted from commercial ships and other vessels can negatively impact aquatic species and their ecosystems, potentially threatening their survival. The EU-funded SATURN project brings together expertise from disciplines like bioacoustics, maritime engineering, shipping and other fields, to engage stakeholders to develop solutions to the problem of URN. SATURN will examine: i) which sounds pose the greatest threat to aquatic species and how they are produced and propagated; ii) short and long-term effects of URN on invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals; and iii) the most promising options for reducing negative impacts of URN. SATURN will develop and progress standards for terminology and methodology across all disciplines working on URN, producing recommendations for effective underwater sound management.

The SATURN consortium brings together leading experts in bioacoustics; population biology; marine mammal, fish and invertebrate biology; maritime architecture and engineering; shipping; maritime policy; stakeholder engagement and science communication. We will combine expertise from these disciplines to work with unity of purpose and clarity of intent to identify:

  • The sounds that are most detrimental to aquatic species and how they are produced and propagated;
  • The short-term and cumulative long-term negative impacts of noise from shipping and boats on three representative groups of aquatic species in rivers and the sea (invertebrates, fish and marine mammals);
  • The most promising options for measuring and reducing the negative impacts of ship noise that can be applied to current and future vessels.

SATURN will develop and contribute to the establishment of standards for terminology and methodology to be used across all disciplines working on underwater radiated noise. These standards will underpin the proposed research. The consortium will establish and nurture an effective community of researchers, practitioners, competent authorities, maritime operators, shipping/offshore/naval industries, and NGOs. This group will work closely with the project to ensure that outputs are tailored to the needs of all stakeholders and to maximize their uptake and application. SATURN proposes to confront the complex global issue of underwater radiated noise in a truly inclusive, transdisciplinary way that will ensure that the interests and knowledge of all stakeholders and the environment are represented.

More information about the project can be found at the project website.