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Fifty years ago Jacques Cousteau introduced the public to the submerged visual splendor of the sea in his book and film “The Silent World.” Unfortunately his title also introduced the public to the misconception that all of the oceans’ stunning and majestic beauty occurred in a world of somber silence.

Anything but Silent


Beluga Whale

Beluga Whale: Photo by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/liao/185081771/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_blank"}Bill Liao{/a} on Flickr.

Beluga Whale: Photo by Bill Liao on Flickr.

We know now that the Sea is anything but silent. Given that sunlight does not penetrate more than a few hundred feet below the surface, and at any time more than half of the world oceans are under the dark veil of night, the ocean is actually an acoustic realm. Sound travels almost five times faster and much more efficiently underwater.

Ray diagram of deep ocean 'sound channel' from Ewing and Worzel, 1948

Ray diagram of deep ocean

Ocean Life


Most animals use sound perception to sense and communicate into their habitat. Unfortunately, most human activities in the ocean also use sounds, and generate noise. We are rapidly finding that there is a serious conflict between human generated ocean noise, and sea animals’ need to communicate, navigate and hear their surroundings.

Deepwater 'semi-submersible' oil platform

Deepwater

Humanity


The challenge we face is that our survival as a species depends on our effective (and sustainable) exploitation of the ocean. Human colonization of the sea is increasing exponentially. We are bringing with us technologies that are not impact-tested on the ocean environment, and after just a short time with some of these technologies, we see that the consequences of their use can be devastating.

Responsibility


Unfortunately we are too far along in our dependence of our exploitation methods to just stop and tell everybody to “get out of the pool;” we need to derive solutions “on the fly” and implement them as soon as we see positive results.

Ocean Conservation Research was founded to help spread the word and extend the discussion about ocean noise pollution.

Our objective is to highlight the scientific work being done in the field of marine bioacoustics, to report on current human interests in the ocean which employ sound-based technologies, and to advocate for responsible approaches to using sound in the seas.

The ocean is largely an unknown realm which we have been using as an unlimited larder and bottomless cesspool, with little regard for the impacts of our actions on marine habitats and the life it supports. OCR’s aim is to promote understanding about marine habitats and adaptations as well as shed light on the impacts of commercial, industrial, and military exploitation of the sea – with the hopes that greater understanding of these fields will encourage more sustainable practices in our ocean enterprises.

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