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The effect of noise on marine life is one of the big unknowns of current marine science. Considerable evidence exists that the human contribution to ocean noise has increased during the past few decades: human noise has become the dominant component of marine noise in some regions, and noise is directly correlated with the increasing industrialization of the ocean. Sound is an important factor in the lives of many marine organisms, and theory and increasing observations suggest that human noise could be approaching levels at which negative effects on marine life may be occurring. Certain species already show symptoms of the effects of sound. Although some of these effects are acute and rare, chronic sublethal effects may be more prevalent, but are difficult to measure. We need to identify the thresholds of such effects for different species and be in a position to predict how increasing anthropogenic sound will add to the effects. To achieve such predictive capabilities, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) are developing an International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE), with the objective of coordinating the international research community to both quantify the ocean soundscape and examine the functional relationship between sound and the viability of key marine organisms. SCOR and POGO will convene an open science meeting to gather community input on the important research, observations, and modeling activities that should be included in IQOE.


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