New publication: Acoustic Activity of Harbour Porpoise Around an Offshore Oil and Gas Platform

Research is an integral part of what we do here at OSC, so it gives us great pleasure to be able to kick off 2024 with the announcement of our newest publication:

Todd, V.L.G., Warley, J.C., Williamson, L.D., Todd, I.B. (2024). Acoustic Activity of Harbour Porpoise Around an Offshore Oil and Gas Platform. In: Popper, A.N., Sisneros, J., Hawkins, A.D., Thomsen, F. (eds) The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-10417-6_165-1

This book chapter is the latest in a series of publications to come out of our long-term project investigating acoustic activity of harbour porpoise around a new oil and gas (O&G) platform in North Sea. Passive acoustic monitoring equipment (C-PODs), was deployed between 2015 and 2020 at control and impact sites, pre-platform installation, during construction, and once the platform was in situ. Results showed that within five months, porpoise detections per day had returned to pre-platform levels.

The Chapter also reports drilling-noise measurements recorded off a nearby drilling installation; Sound Pressure Level was 120 dB re 1 μPa at 2–1400 Hz. Porpoise forage regularly near offshore O&G installations and are exposed to various noise sources while travelling through the water column, and may hear high-frequency noise from drilling activities up to 70 m from the stem.

These findings have important consequences for decommissioning, which does not consider impacts of anthropogenic infrastructure on marine megafauna in anything other than a noise-mitigation context, and we are very much looking forward to seeing where our further analysis takes us. Many more publications in the pipeline, so watch this space…

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