On the occasion of World Penguin Day on April 25th and International Noise Awareness Day on April 28th, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin is organizing a "Week Against Noise in the Ocean" from April 25th - 30th 2021 in collaboration with the German Oceanographic Museum Stralsund and the German Environment Agency. Together they want to raise awareness for the problem of man-made underwater noise with various communication formats and events.
The world's oceans are being used more and more intensively by humankind. Shipping, the exploration of mineral resources, but also the construction of foundations for wind turbines are generating an enormous, man-made background noise in the oceans. However, the impact of underwater noise on marine animals has not been fully researched. The German Oceanographic Museum, together with the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and other cooperation partners, has therefore been investigating the hearing ability of penguins in the research project "Hearing in Penguins" for the last three years, in order to find out to which extent penguins could also be affected by underwater noise. The project is funded by the German Environment Agency with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin has developed various science communication formats to raise public awareness of the issue of underwater noise. "We are pleased to be able to use the expertise and knowledge infrastructure of the Museum für Naturkunde to help inform and raise awareness about the issue of underwater noise," says project manager Dr. Jana Hoffmann. For example, an information platform on underwater noise was developed at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin to dive into the acoustic underwater world. The platform is showing how man-made sounds can disrupt the communication of marine animals and what kind of solutions exists to avoid man-made underwater noise.
Interactive formats, such as the music hackathon Your Ocean Sound, have also been developed and conducted at the museum. The winners of the competition will be announced during the Week against Noise in the Ocean. During a digital panel discussion with panelists from science, politics and industry will talk about the impact of underwater noise and how anthropogenic sound input into the oceans can be reduced. "With this joint action week, we would like to focus once again on the problem of underwater noise at the end of the project. It is crucial that we find solutions together in order to reduce underwater noise," emphasizes project member Cora Albrecht from the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. The Week against Noise in the Ocean will be completed by a scientific conference to present the collected results and findings at the end of the project.