SMRU Consulting is looking forward to attending the 4th International Conference on The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life in Dublin next week.

We attended the last conference in 2014, held in Budapest and it was one of the most useful and informative conferences we’ve been to! The conference aims to present the most recent research and regulatory issues related to the effects of man-made noise on aquatic life and attracts the world’s best scientists all working on this important issue. This is a massive conference which will include: 3 keynote talks, about 67 oral presentations, 3 speed talk sessions (with associated posters), and 2 additional poster sessions! SMRU Consulting is excited to be presenting at this conference with 1 speed talk and 4 posters:

Cormac Booth will be presenting a speed talk and poster: Using iPCoD to explore potential cumulative effects of pile-driving disturbance on North Sea harbour porpoise population.

The Interim PCoD Framework (iPCoD) was developed to evaluate the potential effects of offshore marine renewable energy construction and operation on UK marine mammal populations. Interim PCoD has now been used to assess the combined effects of 10 years of English wind farm construction on the North Sea harbour porpoise population.


Jason Wood will be presenting a poster: Evaluating Noise Metrics to Predict Masking in Killer Whales.

Using killer whales as a model, this study aimed to evaluate a number of different noise metrics to determine which is better at predicting masking of social signals in delphinids. Killer whales were chosen because they have been shown to increase the source level of their calls as background noise levels increase in a linear fashion (the Lombard effect). This is direct evidence from a wild population that antimasking strategies are being used to overcome the effects of masking of social signals. Because the relationship between noise levels and signal source levels is linear, the R2 value of this linear regression can be used to estimate which noise metric best predicts antimasking strategies (and by extension masking).

Ursula Verfuss will be presenting a poster: Current status of autonomous vehicles for marine animal detection and monitoring.

The status and potential of autonomous aerial and marine vehicles for marine animal monitoring was reviewed. Focus was laid on state of the art solutions (including those in development) that are most pertinent to environmental monitoring conducted for the oil and gas industry, such as mitigation monitoring (e.g. during seismic surveys), population surveys and/or tracking marine mammals, sea turtles and fish to investigate their behaviour in relation to anthropogenic sound. Considered were Unmanned Aerial Systems, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and Autonomous Surface Vehicle as well as appropriate sensor technologies.

Rachael Plunkett will be presenting a poster: PAMGuard software to detect, classify and localise marine mammals.

PAMGuard was created to provide a standard software infrastructure for the detection, classification and localisation (DCL) of marine mammal vocalisations. PAMGuard supports a wide range of sound acquisition devices and multiple channels of data can be processed in real-time at sample rates in excess of 500 kS/s. The Java based software is free to download and is open source, providing a rapid development environment for new DCL algorithms. The software undergoes a continuous process of improvement and bug fixing to ensure compatibility with new versions of Windows, Java and external hardware. In addition, we support other PAMGuard developers around the world.

The conference programme and abstracts can be found here.