News

Launch of Joint Call for Proposals on Underwater Noise in the Marine Environment

JPI Oceans, 20.12.2021

Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania and Spain under the framework of JPI Oceans and together with BANOS, BlueMed, NOAA and the UN Ocean Decade, are pleased to launch this call, with a deadline for proposals on 28 February 2022.

The call provides an excellent opportunity to address a systemic approach to ocean challenges, support policy and governance, and support experimental research activities on the emerging issue of the acoustic pollution of oceans and seas. The call is endorsed as a contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which means that selected projects will be endorsed as Decade Actions.

Introduction

Mankind is noisy by nature, and the impact of noise on human societies seems well known. With growing awareness, our society – scientific researchers, non-governmental organizations, policy makers, and citizens – recognizes anthropogenic noise as an emerging pollutant and threat for subaquatic environments. Underwater acoustic pollution impacts on the health of marine animal populations and biological productivity.

The overall aim of the call is to decrease the existing high levels of uncertainty and to promote specific lines of research that will contribute to the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive at regional sub-basin scale, and, therewith, contributing to reach the Good Environmental Status of the European seas and oceans.

The call will address two main challenges in the field through activities that may focus on:

Theme 1: Effects of anthropogenic noise pollution on marine ecosystems

All acoustical environment components (source – medium – receiver) need to be understood for measurements and modelling. The most important anthropogenic noise sources are sonar, seismic exploration, offshore wind farms, detonations and shipping. The risk for animal populations from acoustic disturbance is a function of acoustic signal characteristics (including particle motion), biological species identity, and the ambient environmental conditions. To account for the complexity, a coordinated system approach is desirable. The evaluation of impacts should be considered in an ecological framework considering the effects on the full trophic network that connects invertebrates such as zooplankton to top predators (fish and marine mammals) and establish links to fishery activities.

Theme 2: Innovative seismic sources as an option for quieter and effective alternatives to conventional marine geophysical exploration

Industry and researchers should work closely together to address the challenge of developing alternative more quiet acoustic sources for geophysical exploration of comparable efficiency, which, at the same time, cause a lower impact on marine fauna. Experimental scientific research is needed to evaluate the efficiency and impact of alternative acoustic sources, such as industrial scale marine vibrators and other methods for acoustic energy spread-out, in comparison to existing seismic airguns.

Funding

A total amount of up to € 8.2 million has been blocked by the funding partners from Belgium, Germany*, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania* and Spain. Each research partner will be funded by its national funding partner. In addition, applicants from countries not funding this call are encouraged to participate with their own resources (cash or in-kind).

*The participation of Germany and Romania in this call is subject to national approval.

Timeline

  • Call Announcement: The call on Underwater Noise was announced on the website of the JPI Oceans and the respective funding agencies on December 20, 2021. The submission tool will open at the beginning of January 2022 at https://noiseinthesea-submission.mur.gov.it
  • Submission Deadline: The deadline for submitting proposals is February 28, 2022, 15:00 CET. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Tentative Start date of projects: Upon approval of funding, project consortia should start no later than end of the year 2022.

For detailed information, including procedures, criteria, co-branding and specifics of the participating national funders, please read the Call Text.