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NOAA and the U.S. Navy are working to better understand underwater sound within the National Marine Sanctuary System. For the next few years, these agencies will work with numerous scientific partners to study sound within seven national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument, which includes waters off Hawai‘i and the east and west coasts. Standardized measurements will assess sounds produced by marine animals, physical processes (e.g., wind and waves), and human activities. Collectively, this information will help NOAA and the Navy measure sound levels and baseline acoustic conditions in sanctuaries. This work is a continuation of ongoing Navy and NOAA monitoring and research, including efforts by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

maps highlighting the locations of sound monitoring: Stellwagen Bank, Gray's Reef, Florida Keys, Olympic Coast, Monterey Bay, Channel Islands, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale  and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Monitoring is taking place in Stellwagen Bank, Gray's Reef, and Florida Keys national marine sanctuaries (East Coast); Olympic Coast, Monterey Bay, and Channel Islands national marine sanctuaries (West Coast); and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Pacific Islands Region). Maps: NOAA
fish swimming around a hydrophone on the seafloor
diver mesuring sound near the seafloor

Underwater recorders, known as "hydrophones," are deployed near the seafloor for months to years at a time. Shallow locations are maintained by divers, while deeper locations contain "acoustic releases" that can be triggered with a signal to send the equipment back to the surface for retrieval. Photos: Peter Auster/University of Connecticut; Paul Caiger and John Atkins/Ocean Instruments LTD

Agency contacts and partners

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Leila Hatch, Ph.D.
Marine ecologist
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

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Danielle Kitchen
U.S. Navy
Chief of Naval Operations, Energy & Environmental Readiness Division (N45)

Project partners

NOAA Fisheries
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder
Naval Postgraduate School
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Moss Landing
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
North Carolina State University
Skidaway Institute of Oceanography University of Georgia
University of Hawaii
Jupiter Research Foundation
Stanford Hopkins Marine Lab
Axiom Data Science
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation