Presentation Title

Impacts of Covid-19 Regulations on the Soundscape of Marine Communities within Coiba National Park

Project Collaborators

Betzi Perez (Fundación Panacetacea, Panama), Jose Julio Casas (Ministry of the Environment, Panama), Laura J. MayCollado (Collaborating Mentor)

Abstract

Anthropogenic noise from vessels has the ability to interfere with the underwater communication of many sonorous marine species. Because boat transit and fishing restrictions were put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Panama since late March 2020, we are interested in determining if these restrictions translated into a decrease of ambient noise levels. To answer these questions we used acoustic data collected from Coiba National Park before and during the pandemic. This area is a tour destination in Panama, and also serves as a migratory destination of humpback whales. From the acoustic database in RFCxArbimon, we collected presence/absence data of whales and boats. We also used RFCxArbimon soundscape tools to identify changes in soundscape complexity and the dBWav to estimate ambient noise levels. As a result, we expect that Covid-19 regulations lead to decreased boat traffic. The contribution of boats to ambient noise levels is expected to decrease while the contribution of biological sound sources to increase. Understanding the level of contribution of boat noise to marine soundscapes is necessary when designing policy and regulation of human activity in protected areas whose goal is to preserve marine biodiversity.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Laura J. MayCollado

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biological Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Impacts of Covid-19 Regulations on the Soundscape of Marine Communities within Coiba National Park

Anthropogenic noise from vessels has the ability to interfere with the underwater communication of many sonorous marine species. Because boat transit and fishing restrictions were put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Panama since late March 2020, we are interested in determining if these restrictions translated into a decrease of ambient noise levels. To answer these questions we used acoustic data collected from Coiba National Park before and during the pandemic. This area is a tour destination in Panama, and also serves as a migratory destination of humpback whales. From the acoustic database in RFCxArbimon, we collected presence/absence data of whales and boats. We also used RFCxArbimon soundscape tools to identify changes in soundscape complexity and the dBWav to estimate ambient noise levels. As a result, we expect that Covid-19 regulations lead to decreased boat traffic. The contribution of boats to ambient noise levels is expected to decrease while the contribution of biological sound sources to increase. Understanding the level of contribution of boat noise to marine soundscapes is necessary when designing policy and regulation of human activity in protected areas whose goal is to preserve marine biodiversity.