Offshore wind turbines and passive acoustic monitoring | Episode 49

Shifting the nation toward renewable energy and away from fossil fuels is a high priority for the Biden administration in its efforts to address climate change. A key part of the strategy to achieve this goal is to produce more offshore wind energy.

Passive acoustics—or underwater listening technology—is a useful tool for monitoring marine mammals. It is also increasingly important as offshore wind development continues along the East Coast.

In our new episode, we hear from Sofie Van Parijs, Manager of Passive Acoustics at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. He reports on research that used passive acoustics to record sounds in the ocean off the coast of southern New England, which is a vibrant and diverse habitat for whales and other marine mammals. Scientists monitored ambient sounds, fish and marine mammal activity, ship presence and other sounds around offshore wind turbines. This data, along with other tools and technologies, will help us prepare for and mitigate the impacts of offshore wind investments.

Our experts also tackle some of the misinformation about offshore wind development and its potential impact on whales and other marine mammals.