Research topics of interest to JIP

JIP Phase 1 made a thorough survey of knowledge gaps on sound sources and acoustic effects on animals. JIP Phase 2 re-named these knowledge gaps Research Topics, and used them to seek proposals from 2006 to 2008. New developments in science during those years have modified the list of Research Topics somewhat. The current list appears below in five broad Research Categories. The numbers applied to Research Categories and Research Topics are for ease of reference only and do not imply prioritisation. The JIP does not accept proposals on any Research Topic at any time. It uses Requests for Proposals to announce the Research Topics it intends to consider at any one time.

Category 1 – Sound source characterisation and propagation:

Detailed information on characteristics of sound sources and improved models of sound transmission and propagation.

  1. Source characterisation for industry sound sources
  2. Sound propagation models
  3. Inventory and assessment of industry research material on sound source characterisation
  4. Standardization of measurements for characterizing underwater sound sources
  5. Ocean noise budgets and background noise

Category 2 – Physical and physiological effects and hearing:

Greater understanding of the potential impacts of sound sources on the hearing ability of animals, stress, and direct damage to auditory and non-auditory tissues (such as lungs or fish eggs).

  1. Anatomical ear models of larger whale species (hearing and physical damage)
  2. Mysticete hearing (including use of Auditory Evoked Potential methods)
  3. Audiograms – fish, small cetaceans and pinnipeds
  4. Auditory –Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS) using industry sound sources – cetaceans, pinnipeds and fish
  5. Epithelial/hair cell damage in fish ears and other tissue damage
  6. Physical Impacts: fish (with air-filled cavities), fish eggs and larvae, invertebrates
  7. Stapedial reflex in marine mammals
  8. Relationship between equal loudness curves and audiograms

Category 3 – Behavioural reactions and biologically significant effects:

Effects of sound on behaviour (including communication, foraging, migration, reproduction and predator avoidance), auditory factors that affect behaviour (including perception, sensitivity, and auditory masking), and the Biological Significance (population-level effects) of these changes including long-term cumulative effects and synergisms with non-acoustic stressors.

  1. Marine Mammal Controlled Exposure Experiments, including beaked whales
  2. Reactions of marine mammals to seismic air guns
  3. Reactions of non-mammals to seismic airguns
  4. Reactions of marine animals to non-seismic sound
  5. Biological significance of the effects of sound
  6. Long-term and Cumulative effects
  7. Impacts of sound on prey

Category 4 – Mitigation and monitoring:

Develop alternative sound sources or operating procedures, evaluate or improve existing mitigation measures or develop new mitigation measures that would lessen the risk of acoustic impacts on marine animals.

  1. Marine mammal observers (MMO) methods and effectiveness
  2. Collect and analyze MMO data
  3. Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM): PAMGUARD
  4. Long-term monitoring: baseline monitoring (boat surveys and moored PAM buoys)
  5. Development and improvement of autonomous buoys for PAM
  6. Active Acoustic Monitoring (AAM)
  7. Airgun ramp-up (slow start) efficacy (Includes developing alternative mechanisms for precise volume control)
  8. Attenuation technology and sound reduction
  9. Alternative sound sources, alternate seismic exploration sound sources

Category 5 – Research tools:

Need for new or updated equipment or techniques to improve research data collection or monitoring efficacy:

  1. Animal tagging technology development: ongoing tag development, data transmission and attachment methods for cetaceans and other marine mammals