Intersections of Art and Science

Sonic Sea, Film Documentary

WATCH: Sonic Sea, Documentary Trailer (2016)
“This is the story that changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean — and shows what we can do to quiet this deadly noise.”—NRDC

Excerpts, from NRDC;

“Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world.

Sonic Sea is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution.”

“It was a typical March morning for whale watching in the Bahamas — mild, a little humid, and not a hint of the elusive beaked whales that have made their home in the Grand Bahama Canyon for the past 30 million years.

But look out far enough and you might have glimpsed the fleet of U.S. Navy destroyers running training exercises in the canyon, blasting deep-sea sonar at decibel levels equivalent to a jetfighter.

And if you stuck around a few hours, you’d have finally seen these majestic whales — 17 of them, stranding themselves on the beach, bleeding from their ears and brains, desperately trying to escape the deadly noise…”

Sonic Sea is a 60-minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of a former U.S. Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean. TV Premiere May 19th, 2016.

The film is narrated by Rachel McAdams and features Sting, in addition to the renowned ocean experts Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Paul Spong, Dr. Christopher Clark and Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Sonic Sea was produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Imaginary Forces in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Diamond Docs.

Watch the trailer for Sonic Sea (2016), the NRDC documentary that tells the inside story of this day of infamy — then see what happened next when the film premieres Discovery Channel this Thursday May 19th, 2016


The television premiere of Sonic Sea — the powerful documentary narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Rachel McAdams that exposes how relentless human-made ocean noise is devastating marine mammals, and charts a path toward solving this avoidable environmental tragedy.


This Thursday, May 19, on the Discovery Channel

In the darkness of the sea, whales and other marine life depend on sound to mate, find food — in short, to survive. But a cacophony of sonic “bombs” unleashed by oil prospectors, freight ships and military sonar is tearing their symphony of life apart.

The first step to solving a problem is sounding the alarm as far and wide as possible — and that starts with this film.—NRDC

Learn More, NRDC

Sonic Sea — Trailer, By NRDC; Uploaded on Youtube February 2016

More on Ocean noise pollution:

Accoustic Pollution and Marine Mammals, Nature
In the Canary Islands, 14 beaked whales washed ashore bleeding from the ears. All eventually died. A post-mortem examination revealed that the whales showed signs of decompression sickness (what scuba divers call “the bends”). Decompression sickness can occur when a mammal swims to the ocean’s surface too quickly, and the change in pressure produces lethal nitrogen gas bubbles that clog its blood vessels. Evidence of acute decompression sickness indicates unusual behavior. Over the past 40 years, cumulative research across the globe has revealed a coincidence between naval sonar testing events and acute decompression sickness in beached marine mammals…

Whales Benefit From Action On Ocean Noise, BBC News (03-04-2013)

A Rising Tide of Noise Is Now Easy to See, The New York Times (12-15-2012)

Navy study: Sonar, Blasts Might Hurt More Sea Life (05-14-2012)

Accoustic Pollution and Naval Sonar testing, Discover Magazine (01-26-2012)

Ship noise in coastal habitats could interfere with orca’s communication, Science Daily (02-03-2016)

Whales Benefit From Action On Ocean Noise, BBC News (03-04-2013)

A Silent Victory For Marine Mammals, On Earth Magazine (04-03-2015)
A federal judge stands up to the noisy navy for the sake of marine mammals…

Worldwide Ship Traffic Up 300 Percent Since 1992, AGU (11-29-2014)
Maritime traffic on the world’s oceans has increased four-fold over the past 20 years, likely causing more water, air and noise pollution on the open seas, according to a new study quantifying global ship traffic…

Super-sized ships: How big can they get? Independent (10-21-2014)
Despite the physical limits and risks, ships of more than 450m are anticipated within the next five years…

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

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