Scientists will discuss marine animals and human noise in a free lecture at Seymour Center

The effects of human noise on marine animals is the subject of a special presentation by three marine mammal experts on Thursday, June 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Seymour Center at Long Marine Laboratory. Admission is free. Seating is limited and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The speakers will be Donald Croll, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz; David Kastak, a researcher at UCSC's Long Marine Lab; and Brandon Southall, director of the NOAA Fisheries acoustics program. Their talks are part of a nationwide lecture series sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries).

Southall, who earned his Ph.D. in ocean sciences at UCSC studying hearing in seals and sea lions, will give an introduction on the subject of human-produced sound in the marine environment. Southall has been traveling around the country since March as part of the NOAA Fisheries lecture series, which aims to present the public with current scientific information on marine animals and human noise. The series will continue through November.

Kastak, who earned a Ph.D. in biology at UCSC, will talk about the physics of sound and hearing in the ocean and the effects of human-produced noises, mostly in relation to pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). Kastak has studied the hearing abilities of different pinniped species and the effects of human-produced noise on pinnipeds. He leads an ongoing research program on pinniped acoustics at Long Marine Lab, and is also involved in research with the U.S. Navy's marine mammal program.

Croll will discuss the role of sound in the lives of the great whales and how the noise created by human activities in the ocean might affect those animals. Croll has studied the loud, low-frequency sounds produced by fin whales and blue whales, gaining new insights into how and why the whales use these vocalizations. He has also done research on how whales respond to human-produced noises.