Marine Acoustics

Our finger is on the pulse of the latest technology, scientific advances and methods. This enables us to provide our clients with high quality and up-to-date advice, design, planning and implementation of marine acoustics. 


Earth's oceans and seas are becoming busier and noisier.

Spectrogram showing humpback whale song recorded during our research programme on the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Dana Cusano. All data were collected under permits issued by the Australian Government and in accordance with our animal ethics approval.

The potential effects of anthropogenic sound on marine megafauna are of increasing concern, and are only beginning to be understood. Recording, transmitting, storing, measuring, managing, and analysing underwater sound is highly complex and involves the use of technical, and often expensive, equipment. It also requires specialist knowledge. Underwater acoustics is a rapidly changing area, with advances in technology occurring frequently. It's easy to get left behind and it's easy to head down the wrong path.

Measuring anthropogenic and biological sound in the marine environment is receiving increasing attention from a variety of our clients. Our collaboration on a number of underwater acoustics research projects means we have our finger on the pulse of the latest technology, scientific advances and methods. This enables us to provide our clients with high quality and up-to-date advice, design, planning and implementation of research and mitigation projects on underwater sound. 


Blue Planet Marine has the experience and expertise to assist you with your marine acoustics project, including:

Manuel - taken by John Flavell.jpg
  • Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) for mitigation and research purposes using fixed and towed PAM systems, including: SoundTraps, Real-time acoustic monitoring, and hydrophone arrays
  • Direct tagging of marine mammals using D-Tags and Z-Tags
  • Ambient underwater noise assessment and monitoring
  • Expert advice, assessment monitoring and research on the potential effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals and other marine megafauna
  • Studies on marine mammal behavioural response to anthropogenic sound
  • Mitigating potential impacts of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals
  • Marine Fauna Observer (MFO) and Acoustic Fauna Observer (AFO) services
  • Advanced PAM Operator training

If you have a project that includes questions on underwater sound, talk to us today. We'll be happy to work with you to reach the best decisions and outcomes for your project.


To find out more about our underwater acoustics services, check out this content:

Environmental capabilities document

Specialist marine acoustics services

Environmental services for Australian resources sector

Environmental services for NZ seismic operations

Advanced NZ PAM Operator Assessment Course

Training services for Australasia

Vessel charter services

The review [of effects of multibeam on cetaceans in the Marlborough Sounds] met my expectations. Blue Planet Marine took the initiative of phoning me to discuss how they intended to structure the review to meet our requirements. Their proposed outline was well-thought through and enabled a joint understanding to be quickly developed, thus expediting the project to meet a tight deadline. Service was excellent and product was fit for purpose. Blue Planet Marine delivered as promised, and responded well to feedback on the draft report. Blue Planet Marine will be one of the first companies I call on for proposals on marine mammal work.
— Dr Steve Urlich - Coastal Scientist, Marlborough District Council

Recent Projects

  • Validation of Sound Transmission Loss Modelling (STLM) and acoustic monitoring for a marine seismic survey near the Maui field in Taranaki, New Zealand. Client: Shell Taranaki Ltd.
  • Controlled exposure experiments to determine the impacts of seismic surveys and the effectiveness of soft-starts on cetaceans (Funded by: E&P Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Programme; United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; International Association of Oil & Gas Producers; International Association of Geophysical Contractors). BPM was a collaborator on this project, entitled BRAHSS.
  • Monitoring of aquatic ambient noise and the associated pressure impacts on marine megafauna in Port Curtis and Port Alma, East Australia. Client: Gladstone Port Corporation.
  • Consultancy advice on the report: Peters & Stockin 2016 Responses of bottlenose dolphins to vessel activity in Northland. Client: Department of Conservation.
  • Development of a real-time cetacean positioning and tracking system, which allows the incorporation of both visual and acoustic data for seismic surveys. Collaborative project with the University of Newcastle.
  • PAM Operator services and systems for numerous 3D, VSP, and check-shot seismic surveys in NZ and Australia. Clients include: OMV, PGS, Woodside Energy, RPS, STOS, Chevron, TGS-Nopec, Schlumberger, NZOG, Anadarko, PTTEPAA, Hess, Jan De Nul, BMA, MED.
  • Collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division in undertaking acoustic and visual surveys for Blue Whales in the Bonny Upwelling. Client: Australian Antarctic Division.
  • Expert statement and evidence before the EPA regarding sand mining off Taranaki and the potential effects of noise from this activity on marine mammals. Client: Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd.
  • Technical Review of the Ichthys Onshore LNG Facilities Underwater Noise Management Plan. Client: INPEX.
  • Development of a Marine Mammal Impact Assessment for a 3D MSS in the Taranaki Basin. Client: Todd Energy.
  • Review of multibeam echo sounder surveys and potential impacts on marine mammals. Client: Marlborough District Council.
  • Multidisciplinary research programme on the humpback whale breeding grounds of the Great Barrier Reef - photo-ID, genetic analysis and bioacoustics. Joint project with University of Queensland and Oregon State University.
  • Expert evidence and appearance before the EPA regarding the potential effects on marine mammals of noise from Chatham Rock Phosphate's proposed marine consent to mine phosphorite nodules on the Chatham Rise. Client: Department of Conservation.
  • Analysis and reporting of all observer data collected during seismic surveys in New Zealand waters under the New Zealand Code of Conduct. Client: Department of Conservation.
  • Humpback whale satellite tagging, photo-ID and genetic sampling at the Kermadec Islands. Client: University of Auckland.
  • Satellite tagging of humpback and southern right whales in Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. Client: Australian Antarctic Division.
  • Review of the NZ Guidelines for Minimising Acoustic Disturbance to Marine Mammals from Seismic Survey Operations and Reference Document with respect to new research findings, international best practice and recent legislation changes within NZ. Analysis and reporting of submissions on the review. Client: Department of Conservation.
  • Undertaking humpback whale satellite tagging activities to determine migratory destination and movement patterns. Client: Australian Antarctic Division.