Watch: Bearded seals can’t compete with industrial sounds

A bearded seal on the ice. Credit: Michael Cameron, NOAA

The loud sounds bearded seals emit underwater may not be noisy enough to overcome the sound from increasing industrial activities off the coast of Alaska. Recent research highlighted how bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) noise can be deafening underwater. Now, a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that while bearded seals are used to getting noisier to drown out the mating calls of their competitors, there is a limit to how much of a racket they can make. As industrial noise from offshore oil development and shipping is projected to increase in the area over the next 15 years, researchers are concerned that the seals won’t be heard over the noise.

Read more at the Cornell Chronicle.