Published: 14th October 2021
CUSAT collabs with Sony to develop sensor to monitor noise pollution in marine habitats
The research team believes that increased human activities in the ocean have accounted for a lot of underwater noise pollution
In what can be called innovation and research, CUSAT's Department of Electronics is collaborating with Sony under the Sensing Solution University Collaboration (SSUC) programme to develop an intelligent sensor node network. This will be deployed on the seafloor or semi-buoyant platforms across large regions of the ocean to monitor marine habitats.
According to the research team, increased human activities in the ocean account for underwater noise pollution. The researchers who are part of this project said, "Changes in the acoustic noise landscape of the ocean severely affect marine habitats. It is noticed that the ambient background noise interferes with the sense of hearing of marine mammals, making it harder for them to hunt, navigate and communicate, eventually leading to extinction. At present, the marine environment is very noisy, and most of the noise is manmade."
There is a need to monitor the acoustic ambiance of the ocean for mitigating the effect of noise pollution on the marine habitat. The team opines that marine mammals have developed their hearing for many reasons such as navigation, communication, and foraging. "Some animals use echolocation to determine the distance from objects including prey and predators. For instance, dolphins use sonar clicks when they confront an object to determine its location. Noise trauma also damages the hearing and long exposure can often cause permanent deafness. Mammals often avoid noisy areas, which can be a problem if these locations are important feeding or breeding grounds," they added.
This project aims to develop the sensor network to help fill the gap in the global efforts to collect, monitor and analyse acoustic noise pollution in the ocean and understand its threat to marine habitats. "The system helps to intelligently monitor the acoustic landscape of the ocean with near-zero human intervention," the researchers said.