The impact of underwater noise on marine life is of growing concern as legislation such as the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) recognises noise a pollutant and an issue to be investigated for EIA.
Using individual based modelling (IBM) techniques (also known as agent based modelling) the HAMMER tool is able to predict the response of a target species to underwater noise if enough behavioural data is available for the target species. Model input data includes:
- hearing ability – which noise levels can the species detect
- response to noise
- migration route – this can be from feeding to breeding grounds, or between feeding grounds if there is a seasonal shift in food availability for the target species
- swim speeds
- size of individuals
Other parameters which can be included are temperature and salinity tolerances of the target species, schooling behaviour and swimming depth i.e. where in the water column are they found.