ABSTRACT

Rossi-Santos, M.R., 2015. Oil industry and noise pollution in the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) soundscape ecology of the southwestern Atlantic breeding ground.

The present work aims to assess acoustic overlapping between the humpback whale song and anthropogenic sounds around oil and gas platforms through spectral description and frequency comparison. Whales were monitored systematically in northeastern Brazil (11° S, 37° W to 14° S, 38° W). Acoustic and behavioral data were collected from 2007 to 2009, focusing on humpback occurrence around oil platforms. Diverse anthropogenic noises were registered in a similar frequency range as recorded cetacean sounds, which suggests overlapping of acoustic niches. Noise pollution from oil and gas production may potentially affect this species' communication, with implications for distribution and behavior in their breeding area. This paper is the first report of acoustic overlapping of oil platforms and cetaceans in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Given increasing gas and oil exploitation, efforts to improve the development and use of these acoustic methods are recommended in order to mitigate impacts on the marine life.

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