Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U.S. Navy Sonar Linked To Whale Strandings, Environmental Scientists Argue

Date:
October 6, 2008
Source:
George Mason University
Summary:
With the U.S. Supreme Court due to review a series of lower court rulings that restrict the Navy's use of sonar in submarine detection training exercises off the coast of Southern California, George Mason University professor Chris Parsons discusses the links between mass strandings and military exercises worldwide in a paper in the Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Beached sperm whale. "Sonar is killing more whales than we know about," said Prof. Chris Parsons of George Mason University.
Credit: iStockphoto/Alan Drummond

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a series of lower court rulings that restrict the Navy's use of sonar in submarine detection training exercises off the coast of Southern California. The court is due to hear the case after its term begins again this month.

Related Articles


For many years, professor Chris Parsons has been tracking the patterns of mass whale strandings around the world. In his most recent paper, "Navy Sonar and Cetaceans: Just how much does the gun need to smoke before we act?" Parsons and his co-authors bring together all of the major whale and dolphin strandings in the past eight years and discuss the different kinds of species that have been affected worldwide. They also strongly argue for stricter environmental policies related to this issue.

"Generally, if there is a large whale stranding, there is a military exercise in the area," says Parsons. "Sonar is killing more whales than we know about."

Parsons is a national delegate for the International Whaling Commission’s scientific and conservation committees, and on the board of directors of the marine section of the Society for Conservation Biology. He has been involved in whale and dolphin research for more than a decade and has conducted projects in South Africa, India, China and the Caribbean as well as the United Kingdom.

Though Parsons believes that there is a good chance the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor of the Navy, he thinks there is a chance for a win-win situation on both sides.

"If the Navy uses proper mitigation efforts, it can still perform its exercises and affect less of the whale population," he says. However, he argues they need to avoid sensitive areas completely, and have trained, experienced whale experts as lookouts when performing these exercises—"not just someone who has watched a 45-minute DVD, which is sadly the only training most naval lookouts get with respect to finding and detecting whales."

Even with all these efforts, however, Parsons worries that sonar is affecting many more whales than we even know about. "Eventually the Navy may have to reconsider the use of certain types of sonar all together. They could be wiping out entire populations of whales, and seriously depleting others."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by George Mason University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chris Parsons et al. Navy Sonar and Cetaceans: Just how much does the gun need to smoke before we act? Marine Pollution Bulletin, (in press)

Cite This Page:

George Mason University. "U.S. Navy Sonar Linked To Whale Strandings, Environmental Scientists Argue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006112057.htm>.
George Mason University. (2008, October 6). U.S. Navy Sonar Linked To Whale Strandings, Environmental Scientists Argue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006112057.htm
George Mason University. "U.S. Navy Sonar Linked To Whale Strandings, Environmental Scientists Argue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006112057.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins