Emerging blue economy industries, such as marine aquaculture or seabed exploitation, have expanded in the last years. Related activities, such as shipping, construction of marine infrastructures or seismic campaigns are causing a progressive and more rapid increase of noise levels in the marine environment. Despite the numerous studies conducted in recent decades on the impact of underwater noise on marine life, there is still a lack of both knowledge and methodological procedures, with often qualitative results. Likewise, even though most marine organisms, and in particular fish, detect sound primarily using particle motion, most of the studies performed up till now only address pressure field effects.
The SONORA project aims to deepen the knowledge about the relationship between particle motion and acoustic pressure fields to evaluate the impact of both variables on fish. In the project, noise generated by ocean-based industries, including opportunistic sources and seismic sources, will be characterised numerically and experimentally. A predictive monitoring system, based on modelling of noise sources and their propagation at sea, will be developed. The relationship between particle motion and pressure will be evaluated in situations beyond free field, considering shallow waters and reverberant environments. In addition, the project will investigate noise impact on fish in marine aquaculture facilities, both in indoor tanks and offshore aquaculture cages. Noise effects on commercial aquaculture fish species will be considered, focusing on behavioural and physiological impacts (biochemical parameters in blood or whole-body samples) on larvae, juveniles and adults. Not only commercial species, but also surrounding wild ecosystems around the cages will be considered. Based on the results and the knowledge acquired, quantitative thresholds of behavioural and physiological impacts on fish will be established and an acoustic risk matrix will be developed.
Jaime Ramis Soriano, Universidad de Alicante (Spain)
The National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics, Italy
The Technical University of Valencia, Spain
University of Palermo, Italy
The University of Trieste, Italy