Project Page

Reduce Impacts of Anthropogenic Noise on Cetaceans

Implementing Organization

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (NRDA)

Funding Program

Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA


Project Category


Project Actions

Species Restoration

Targeted Resources

Marine Mammals

Project Description

This project will reduce whale and dolphin exposure to human caused noise in priority areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Whales and dolphins rely on sound for vital life functions including foraging, navigation, and reproduction. The Gulf of Mexico environment is impacted by a variety of human-made sound sources including seismic airguns, small and large vessels, explosives, and pile driving. Increased noise levels from these sources may disrupt or displace life function behaviors and cause direct physical harm to whales and dolphins. Impacts from noise may include reduced foraging success, reduced reproductive success, masking of communication and environmental cues, and habitat displacement. This project will reduce noise exposure in the Gulf of Mexico by conducting a risk assessment to identify priority areas, further developing noise reduction strategies and technologies, and deploying passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) equipment in areas of interest. The project will focus on low- and mid-frequency sound sources of greatest potential for harm to open ocean whale and dolphin populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The project supports the Trustees’ goal to identify and implement actions that address direct human-caused threats such as noise. Target species will be those with known or suspected sensitivity to noise, those injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and those found in areas of greatest human activity. Priority species for this project are the sperm whale and the Rice's whale (both listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act), and beaked whales. It is expected that noise-reduction measures will benefit on "More Info" link below


Christina Fellas
(727) 551-5714
Project Website
Project Partners


Affiliated Institutions

For official trustee information regarding the Deepwater Horizon NRDA, including information regarding the NRDA process and the status of projects, see

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