“The listening station launched [October 15th] is one of 11 spaced around the North American continent, part of the Ocean Noise Reference Station Network operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It does not allow real-time listening to the sounds of the ocean, but rather makes recordings.
Other devices are located off both coasts, in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, as well as off the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa.
Whales and dolphins use sounds as their primary way to communicate in an otherwise dark world, so extra, man-made noise in the ocean can at the very least interfere with their communication, said Samara Haver, a graduate research assistant with the Oregon State University Research Collective for Applied Acoustics, which is partnering with Lipski on the project.
Studies also indicate noise increases stress, Haver said, creating “kind of a suite of negative effects” on the animals.
What scientists know from their work so far is that whales may be forced, at a minimum, to alter or amplify their communication in the same way someone at a loud cocktail party might raise his voice to be heard.”