Soundscape characterization in a dynamic acoustic environment: Grand Passage, Nova Scotia, a planned in-stream tidal energy site

Acoustics, Geophysics/Hydrodynamics: Anne R. Lombardi, Alex E. Hay, David R. Barclay (2016/09)

Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 27

Download: 301.pdf

The marine environment in the Bay of Fundy hosts a dynamic and diverse soundscape that is a fundamental component of the local ecosystem. The emergence of new human marine activities and infrastructure, such as tidal turbine installations, introduces new sound sources that change or disrupt the existing acoustic environment, but the full extent of these changes is not well understood and is not predictable. To better evaluate the effects of future tidal energy development on the local soundscape in Grand Passage, Nova Scotia, a thorough understanding of the pre-development characteristics must be established. The present research seeks to identify existing anthropophony, biophony, and geophony, and to evaluate the underlying mechanisms contributing to geophonic variability. Passive acoustic measurements have been conducted using long-term moored omnidirectional hydrophones, a moored 5-channel array, and drifting hydrophone arrays, enabling identification of dominant signals and source direction, estimation of pseudonoise masking effects due to turbulent flow, and analysis of diurnal, daily, seasonal, and annual variability as well as spatial variability within the study area. This paper provides an overview of the dominant sound sources and discusses the effects of environmental forcing on soundscape characteristics.

Keywords: Acoustics, Soundscape, Grand Passage, Bay of Fundy

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