University of Tasmania, Australia

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Do seismic surveys affect marine life?

rock lobsterNew dedicated research to investigate impact on scallops and lobster.

Researchers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania have begun a new study to understand how seismic surveys may affect marine life, in particular scallops and rock lobster.

IMAS scientist Dr Jayson Semmens is leading a team of researchers in a study that aims to thoroughly assess the potential impact of stimuli generated from the intense low-frequency sound source used in seismic surveys.
Increased survey activity in some areas has led to some concern over the impact on marine life.

“While past research has included studies into the potential effects of marine seismic surveys on invertebrates, IMAS is looking forward to undertaking a more comprehensive and robust scientific study,” Dr Semmens said.

The research team, which includes Associate Professor Robert McCauley from Curtin University, who is an expert on measuring the effect of man-made noise on marine animals, will focus on two types of invertebrates –commercial scallops and southern rock lobster.

“These are two key Australian fisheries species and the results from our research should provide new information to fisheries and petroleum regulators to make informed decisions on the timing and manner in which seismic surveys are performed,” Dr Semmens said.

The research is being funded by the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research Development Corporation (FRDC Project Number 2012/008) as well as Origin Energy and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries’ CarbonNet Project.

To arrange interviews with Dr Semmens please contact Sam East, Communications, Outreach and Marketing Manager, IMAS, +61 3 6226 6683 or 0418 299 470.

Published on: 30 Oct 2012 1:54pm