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Perception of low-frequency acoustic signals by a harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the presence of simulated offshore wind turbine noise

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posted on 03.11.2008 by Klaus Lucke, Paul Lepper, Bert Hoeve, Eligius Everaarts, Niels van Elk, Ursula Siebert
Using auditory evoked potential (AEP) methods, a study was conducted on a harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) at the Dolfinarium Harderwijk in The Netherlands. The study measured the audible range of wind turbine sounds and their potential masking effects on the acoustic perception of the animal. AEPs were evoked with two types of acoustic stimuli: (1) click-type signals and (2) amplitude-modulated signals. The masking noise resembling the underwater sound emissions of an operational wind turbine was simulated. At first, the animal’s hearing threshold was measured at frequencies between 0.7 and 16 kHz. Subsequently, these measurements were repeated at frequencies between 0.7 and 2.8 kHz in the presence of two different levels of masking noise. The resulting data show a masking effect of the simulated wind turbine sound at 128 dB re 1 μPa at 0.7, 1.0, and 2.0 kHz. This masking effect varied between 4.8 and 7.3 dB at those frequencies. No significant masking was measured at a masking level of 115 dB re 1 μPa. The available data indicate that the potential masking effect would be limited to short ranges in the open sea, but limitations exist to this conclusion and all estimates are based on existing turbine types, not taking into account future developments of larger and potentially noisier turbine types.

History

School

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Citation

LUCKE, K. ... et al, 2007. Perception of low-frequency acoustic signals by a harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the presence of simulated offshore wind turbine noise. Aquatic Mammals, 33 (1), pp. 55-68 [DOI 10.1578/AM.33.1.2007.55]

Publisher

© IWA Publishing

Publication date

2007

Notes

This aricle was published in the journal, Aquatic Mammals [© European Association for Aquatic Mammals] and is also available at: http://www.aquaticmammalsjournal.org/

ISSN

0167-5427

Language

en

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