A Pan-Arctic Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Network

ExportUnderwater noise is one of the most widespread impacts of industrial activities, including seismic surveys, drilling and shipping. Underwater noise is expected to affect marine mammals (as well as marine fishes and invertebrates) which rely on sound for many critical life processes such as communicating, navigating and foraging. Although some effects of underwater noise are acute and rare, chronic sub-lethal effects may be equally or more important to Arctic fauna.

Underwater noise may cause redistribution of marine mammals, hence results in habitat loss. If animals are prevented from accessing important foraging or breeding areas, there is a potential for population-level impacts. Until recently, underwater noise levels have been quite low in the Arctic, however the Arctic is warming, and sea ice cover is decreasing markedly allowing for increased access for anthropogenic activities that can be sources of underwater noise.

The Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2023 (AMSP) identified the need to improve our understanding of cumulative impacts on marine ecosystems from multiple human activity-induced stressors including noise. The State of the Arctic’s Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR) subsequently identified noise as a Key anthropogenic driver of change noting that noise associated with increasing ship traffic and resource development is of concern for marine mammal populations.

In response, the Marine Mammal Expert Network within the CBMP recognised a need for better connectivity in the Arctic marine mammal acoustics community. To address this need, a circumpolar metadata database and a map of PAM instruments deployed throughout the Arctic has been constructed. The main goal of this metadata base is to unite researchers working in the Arctic and initiate international collaboration that could be important to policy and conservation planning. This map includes both past and current deployments within the CAFF Arctic boundaries.


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