The common murre (Uria aalge), an auk seabird, reacts to underwater sound

Thumbnail Image
Anderson Hansen, Kirstin
Hernandez, Ariana
Mooney, T. Aran
Rasmussen, Marianne H.
Sørensen, Kenneth
Wahlberg, Magnus
Alternative Title
Date Created
Related Materials
Replaced By
Marine mammals have fine-tuned hearing abilities, which makes them vulnerable to human-induced sounds from shipping, sonars, pile drivers, and air guns. Many species of marine birds, such as penguins, auks, and cormorants, find their food underwater where light is often limited, suggesting sound detection may play a vital role. Yet, for most marine birds, it is unknown whether they are using, and can thereby be affected by, underwater sound. The authors conducted a series of playback experiments to test whether Alcid seabirds responded to and were disrupted by, underwater sound. Underwater broadband sound bursts and mid-frequency naval 53 C sonar signals were presented to two common murres (Uria aalge) in a quiet pool. The received sound pressure levels varied from 110 to 137 dB re 1 μPa. Both murres showed consistent reactions to sounds of all intensities, as compared to no reactions during control trials. For one of the birds, there was a clearly graded response, so that more responses were found at higher received levels. The authors' findings indicate that common murres may be affected by, and therefore potentially also vulnerable to, underwater noise. The effect of man-made noise on murres, and possibly other marine birds, requires more thorough consideration.
Author Posting. © Acoustical Society of America, 2020. This article is posted here by permission of Acoustical Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 147(6), (2020): 4069, doi:10.1121/10.0001400.
Embargo Date
Anderson Hansen, K., Hernandez, A., Mooney, T. A., Rasmussen, M. H., Sorensen, K., & Wahlberg, M. (2020). The common murre (Uria aalge), an auk seabird, reacts to underwater sound. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(6), 4069.
Cruise ID
Cruise DOI
Vessel Name