Determining Mitigation and Monitoring through the Ecological Risk Assessment Process

This video is an introduction to determining mitigation and monitoring through the ecological risk assessment process.

Key topics/associated DOSITS links:

Ecological Risk Assessment Process
The ecological risk assessment process is how scientists and decision makers examine potential risks related to human activities. These studies help regulators and managers make important decisions, including determining if there are mitigation and monitoring activities that could be conducted to reduce the potential for ecological effects to occur.

The first stage of the process is to define the problem.

The next stage of the process involves two steps:

  • estimating the probability of an animal being exposed to the problem
  • determining the types of ecological effects that might be expected

Based on the results of these analyses, the final stage, estimating potential ecological effects, can be completed.

When applying the ecological risk assessment process to underwater sound produced from a sound source, it is important to estimate a source's sound field to determine if and/or the amount of exposure of marine animals to the sound.

For more information on the DOSITS website:

Sound Field
A source's sound field is a snapshot in time of the level of sound at different distances and depths as the sound travels away from the source. The sound field only exists when sounds are transmitted. How often a source transmits and how long the signals are will affect the amount of exposure marine animals might get.

For more information on the DOSITS website:

Effects of Sound
In addition to considering the sound field, scientists must also consider whether or not a particular species is found in the area at the time of year that the sound source is being used and whether the species is sensitive to the sounds being transmitted. By coupling the animals with the sound field, the amount of exposure can be estimated to determine what potential effects might occur.

For more information on the DOSITS website:

Measure Marine Mammals Reaction to Sound
Methods are being applied or developed to help measure and predict the potential effects of underwater sound on marine animals, which include:

Many factors influence the potential effects underwater sounds may have on marine animals and how scientists monitor, measure, and mitigate sound sources.

This video is sponsored by The Exploration and Production, Sound and Marine Life Joint Industry Programme -