Criteria and Thresholds

The U.S. Navy is working to determine the biological effects of natural and manmade sound on marine mammal behavior including physiological, hearing related and behavioral effects. Applied research in hearing includes testing of underwater hearing abilities of whales and dolphins (pictured above) as well as anatomical studies for large or rare species than cannot be tested by traditional methods. The primary objective of behavioral effects research is to safely study responses of beaked whales and other species to naval and other anthropogenic sounds to understand the causal chain of events leading from sound exposure to ‘biologically significant’ behavioral reactions that could include risks of stranding. Recent research efforts have focused mainly on the species of the Southern California Range Complex, as well as on the Atlantic Undersea Testing and Evaluation Center range in the Bahamas.