News

Turning up the volume: Five new JPI Oceans projects on ‘Underwater Noise in the Marine Environment’ awarded funding

JPI Oceans, 04.10.2022

The innovative projects are coming in the wake of a JPI Oceans call for proposals, establishing a unique collaboration between Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania and Spain together with BANOS, BlueMed, NOAA and the UN Ocean Decade.

The joint call is the first UN Ocean Decade focused contribution and implementing activity by JPI Oceans, in its role as Decade Implementing Partner for Europe. The call offered a concrete opportunity to systematically approach ocean challenges, support policy and governance, and carry out experimental research activities on the emerging issue of the acoustic pollution of ocean and seas.

In the first phase, thirteen project proposals involving partners from all eight participating countries were received. The proposals were evaluated by independent, international peer reviewers, and ranked by an evaluation panel. On this basis, the Call Steering Committee selected five projects for funding. The projects revolve around two themes:

  • The effects of anthropogenic noise pollution on marine ecosystems
  • The development of innovative seismic sources as quieter and effective alternatives to conventional marine geophysical exploration

The selected projects are:

  • ORCHESTRA | ecOsystem Responses to Constant offsHorE Sound specTRA | Coordinator: Maarten Boersma, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Germany)
  • DeuteroNoise* | Characterization of maritime noise in different European basins and its impact on ecological relevant deuterostome invertebrates | Coordinator: Lucia Manni, University of Padua (Italy)
  • DIAPHONIA | DIagnostic framework to Assess and Predict tHe impact Of underwater NoIse on mArine species | Coordinator: Sandro Mazzariol, University of Padua (Italy)
  • SONORA | Filling the gap: Thresholds assessment and impact beyond acoustic pressure level linked to emerging blue-growth activities | Coordinator: Jaime Ramis Soriano, Universidad de Alicante (Spain)
  • PURE WIND | Impact of sound on marine ecosystems from offshore wind energy generation | Coordinator: Ana Širović, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, (Norway)

*Funding for Romanian partners in the DeuteroNoise project is pending final approval.

The projects will start their work by the end of 2022, as endorsed UN Ocean Decade projects.

For more information, please contact:
Lavinia Giulia Pomarico
Science-Policy Advisor
lavinia.giulia.pomarico@jpi-oceans.eu

***

Project details:

  • ORCHESTRA | ecOsystem Responses to Constant offsHorE Sound specTRA | Coordinator: Maarten Boersma, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Germany)

ORCHESTRA combines interdisciplinary expertise on plankton and benthos, and underwater acoustics from six scientific institutions of four European countries. The project will fill the knowledge gaps by conducting field studies across basins in order to compare behavioural and physiological impacts on invertebrate key species and communities. Combined with the field surveys, experiments will be carried out in a multiple stressor approach including anthropogenic underwater noise and warming scenarios, to allow cross-basin comparisons with different temperature regimes. Novel setups will be implemented in order to transfer experiments from the laboratory into the field in order to test noise effects under realistic conditions. The resulting data will be combined with information on local soundscapes and species abundances to identify in turn areas with the largest risks of being affected by underwater noise. The results are expected to be applicable in strategies for the mitigation of impacts on marine ecosystem key species and communities and will contribute to the development of criteria and measures to reach Good Environmental Status in European waters.

  • DeuteroNoise* | Characterization of maritime noise in different European basins and its impact on ecological relevant deuterostome invertebrates | Coordinator: Lucia Manni, University of Padua (Italy)

DeuteroNoise aims to characterise the noise pollution caused by maritime traffic in selected sites of the North Adriatic Sea, Lagoon of Venice, North Sea, Black Sea, and Barcelona shore, and test its effects on behaviour, nervous system and sensory organs, immune system, and resilience in marine invertebrates closely related to vertebrates (deuterostomes): hemichordates, echinoderms, cephalochordates, and tunicates. These animals are common in European seas and cover different levels of the trophic network. Noise level will be detected on site and simulated in the laboratory. A behavioural, morphological and genetic survey will be conducted on sampled animals living in polluted vs non-polluted areas. Moreover, animals will be exposed to noise in laboratory-controlled conditions to verify its effect on larval, juvenile and adult stages at individual level and over generations. Comparative studies will allow to: highlight causes of noise pollution in the different basins; determine how species react to it; identify its genetic and morphological signatures; predict sensitivities in closely related animals that cannot easily be studied in laboratory or on-site; predict noise pollution and infer the best practices to reach the Good Environment Status of European basins.

  • DIAPHONIA | DIagnostic framework to Assess and Predict tHe impact Of underwater NoIse on mArine species | Coordinator: Sandro Mazzariol, University of Padua (Italy)

DIAPHONIA will bring together scientists from diverse backgrounds, to assess the various impacts of underwater noise on marine organisms of the food web, including invertebrates and commercial species. The project will develop a possible diagnostic fingerprinting composed of several tissue markers incorporating molecular, metabolomic and microscopic techniques to identify functional and morphological changes in the acoustic pathways of invertebrates, fishes and marine mammals. In addition, the project will explore the relationship between behavioural and cellular, molecular, organ effects of both short and long-term noise exposure in fish from different European ocean basins. DIAPHONIA will also gain insight into the morpho-functionality of the peripheral hearing apparatus in marine mammals and its role in defining the animal’s acoustic sensitivity, by developing a standardised workflow for wave propagation in the associated tissues.

  • SONORA | Filling the gap: Thresholds assessment and impact beyond acoustic pressure level linked to emerging blue-growth activities | Coordinator: Jaime Ramis Soriano, Universidad de Alicante (Spain)

The SONORA project aims to deepen the knowledge about the relationship between particle motion and acoustic pressure field to evaluate the impact of both variables on fish. While 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. In the project, anthropogenic noise generated by ocean-based industries will be characterised numerically and experimentally. Particle motion relationship with pressure will be evaluated in situations beyond free field, considering shallow waters and reverberant environments. Knowledge about sources and sound propagation is the key for developing methodologies to evaluate noise impact on marine ecosystems. 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 physiological impacts on early development larval stage, where very few studies have been undertaken. Not only commercial species, but also surrounding wild ecosystems around the cages will be considered. Based on the results and the knowledge acquired, risk matrices will be developed.

  • PURE WIND | Impact of sound on marine ecosystems from offshore wind energy generation | Coordinator: Ana Širović, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, (Norway)

The PURE WIND project aims to address the knowledge gaps on the impact of offshore wind farms by expanding our knowledge of the radiated noise and the biological consequences of these operations. The project will quantify key features of radiated noise from fixed and floating offshore wind farms, to increase understanding and simulate cumulative effect of clusters on radiated noise, helping to identify sensitive habitats in cross-basin soundscapes. From the biological perspective, the project will identify spatial and qualitative use of offshore wind by top predators and study the impacts of the related noise on zooplankton behaviour. These efforts will advance the knowledge of acute and cumulative effects of the operational noise of offshore wind energy across pelagic food webs. Harmonising and combining these two sides, PURE WIND will develop knowledge and tools for integration of all aspects of noise production and propagation from operational offshore wind farms. This will facilitate assessment of planned offshore wind expansion for marine spatial planning and environmental impact. Finally, the project will synthesise knowledge and best practices from EU and international experiences with fixed offshore wind installations and transfer this into the development of policy, mitigation, and regulation for floating offshore wind development within national, EU and international frameworks.

***

About the Ocean Decade:

Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.

About JPI Oceans:

The Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) is a pan-European intergovernmental platform that increases the efficiency and impact of research and innovation for sustainable, healthy and productive seas and oceans. Our members are ministries and funding agencies that develop, fund and implement national research agendas. As a UN Ocean Decade Implementing Partner, JPI Oceans will contribute to the global ocean science agenda for sustainable development from a pan-European perspective. JPI Oceans will connect internationally the implementation of its Strategy Framework, align current and future Joint Actions with global Decade Actions, and promote communication and outreach to its stakeholder network.