About this Research Topic
Shipping is a key component of modern economies because more than 80% of goods are transported by ships around the world. There have been substantial increases in shipping worldwide over the last century and future projections indicate that this trend will continue. With this growth comes an increasing potential for adverse impacts on marine fauna.
Potential shipping impacts include ship strikes, chronic underwater ship noise, oil spills, contamination from biofouling, and the introduction of invasive species. These potential shipping impacts are gaining recognition in both the scientific community and management organisations around the world as important conservation and animal welfare issues.
Shipping impacts can be wide ranging and affect many marine fauna including marine mammals, fish, turtles, and invertebrates. For example, vessel strikes can result in direct death or serious injury. Exposure to chronic low frequency ship noise can interfere with critical behaviours and life functions, such as communicating, mating, foraging, navigating and avoiding predators. It may also result in physiological and physical impacts, such as stress and hearing loss. Oil spills can cause toxicological impacts on entire ecosystems. Biofouling and the introduction of invasive species cause biosecurity issues and can affect ecosystem balance.
There is a growing body of research working towards better understanding, quantifying, and managing shipping impacts on marine fauna. For example, work is being done to understand how the economy and regulations change ship traffic patterns. Noise from ship traffic is being mapped at frequencies important to marine fauna. Our understanding of ecotoxicological effects is growing. Understanding the process, consequences, and potential mitigation of biofouling and ultimately the introduction of invasive species is progressing. Studies have quantified the risk to marine fauna from shipping impacts, particularly the risk of ship strikes.
This Topic intends to consolidate this research. It will provide a summary of the current understanding of shipping impacts on marine fauna and the best methodologies for studying these impacts. We invite papers that address a broad suite of shipping impacts on the full spectrum of marine fauna. Papers should develop methodology, further the general understanding of impacts, or add important knowledge on this topic. Case studies will be considered, if they add to these broader themes.
Keywords: Vessel Strike, Underwater Ship Noise, Oil Spills, Biofouling Contamination, Invasive Species
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