National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2023

The variable influence of anthropogenic noise on coastal underwater soundscapes near a port and marine reserve

Haver, S.M., J. Haxel, R.P. Dziak, L. Roche, H. Matsumoto, C. Hvidsten, and L.G. Torres

Mar. Pollut. Bull., 194A, 115406, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115406, View open access article online at Elsevier (external link) (2023)

Monitoring soundscapes is essential for assessing environmental conditions for soniferous species, yet little is known about sound levels and contributors in Oregon coastal regions. From 2017 to 2021, during June–September, two hydrophones were deployed near Newport, Oregon to sample 10–13,000 Hz underwater sound. One hydrophone was deployed near the Port of Newport in a high vessel activity area, and another 17 km north within a protected Marine Reserve. Vessel noise and whale vocalizations were detected at both sites, but whales were recorded on more days at the Marine Reserve. Median sound levels in frequencies related to noise from various vessel types and sizes (50 – 4,000 Hz) were up to 6 dB higher at the Port of Newport, with greater diel variability compared to the Marine Reserve. In addition to documenting summer season conditions in Oregon waters, these results exemplify how underwater soundscapes can differ over short distances depending on anthropogenic activity.

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