Migrating humpbacks ‘unfazed’ by seismic oil and gas exploration

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Migrating humpback whales are unfazed by seismic air guns which scan the seafloor as part of oil, and gas exploration, according to Australian research. The research found that the noise created by surveying equipment didn’t cause extra stress to migrating animals. However they did observe whales slowing their migration speed - by 1km per hour, and indicated that the long-term effect requires further study. The air guns use pressurised air to create sound waves which map undersea rock formations for seafloor, oil, and gas exploration, often within range of humpback whales.

Journal/conference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1901

Organisation/s: The University of Queensland, Curtin University, The University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney, Blue Planet Marine

Funder: The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, BG group, BHP Billiton, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eni, ExxonMobil, IAGC, Santos, Statoil and Woodside, the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Origin Energy, Beach Energy and AWE.


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