They are deafened by the noise. Dolphins scream to hear each other in an overly noisy ocean

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They are deaf from the hum. Dolphins scream to hear each other in an overly noisy ocean

The study shows that mammals have to literally shout over the noise in the ocean to hear their fellows.

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Dolphins are one of the many marine mammals that rely on whistling and echolocation. It is she who helps the animals work harmoniously, as well as reproduce, writes the BBC.

But the noise pollution of the ocean has increased dramatically in recent years – the reason for this is the development of shipping and construction. As a result, mammals are simply forced to scream in order to hear each other in this incessant rumble.

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In a new study, a team of scientists from the University of Bristol focused on studying how ocean noise pollution affects interactions between animals. Earlier studies have already shown that noise pollution affects marine animals, but they still did not understand how serious it was.

Researchers have found that in the current rumble of the ocean, dolphins literally try to shout over the noise and hear each other. Scientists believe that if the animals can no longer cooperate, it could be a disaster for them.

According to study co-author Stephanie King, if animals for any reason can no longer be effective in the wild at foraging together, this will eventually affect the health of individuals, and ultimately affect the health of the entire population as a whole.

Deafened by the hum. Dolphins scream to hear each other in the overly noisy ocean

Deafened by the hum. Dolphins scream to hear each other in an overly noisy ocean

Unlike light, which is quickly absorbed by water, sound can travel tens or even hundreds of kilometers . Using this feature, cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – have developed a complex set of sounds to communicate with each other.

Earlier studies have shown that animals turn up the volume and frequency of their “signals” to try and smooth out ocean noise pollution caused by human activities. However, a new study shows that dolphins literally scream to keep in touch with their relatives, but this, alas, is not enough.

According to study leader Pernille Mayer Sorenson, during the study they studied the behavior of two Delta bottlenose dolphins and Reese – during the experiment, they had to perform one joint action, press a button within a certain time from each other.

Each dolphin was given a sound and movement time stamp that measured their behavior and the sounds they made. The researchers found that as the dolphins were exposed to man-made noise, they literally had to double the length and volume of their whistles.

In addition, the scientists found that the animals turned towards each other more often. The researchers believe that dolphins' hearing is direction-sensitive, meaning that by turning towards each other, they are able to separate the “call” of a partner from the outside world.

However, despite all the efforts of dolphins, they managed to achieve success only more than half of the cases (in 62.5%) when they were exposed to noise pollution. Note that in a control experiment where the dolphins encountered only background noise, they were able to complete the task 85% of the time.

Sorenson notes that the maximum level of noise that the subjects were exposed to was 150 decibels (dB). For comparison, a super tanker cargo ship moving across the ocean emits noise reaching 200 dB. Researchers fear that continued exposure of mammals to noise pollution will result in problems for entire populations because they will not be able to interact normally for food and will not be able to reproduce.

Sorenson also suggests that wild dolphins, in fact, in fact, they suffer even more and will work even worse, because the experiment was conducted on animals that are motivated and performed similar tasks hundreds of times in other studies.