FaunaGuard combines academically-validated sound patterns with award-winning acoustic transducer technology to target exact hearing ranges of animals; the design is tailored to the specific needs of species. We developed a module for porpoises, fish and seals. Modules for turtles and minke whales are currently in development.
Preserving marine species in a man-made world
Underwater noise pollution threatens the natural soundscape of our oceans, affecting many marine species that are highly dependent on sound. The effects of anthropogenic noise generally consist of subtle behavioural, navigation or foraging changes, however, can also result in physical injury or death in extreme cases. To preserve our marine wildlife, it is vital to minimise the impact of anthropogenic noise.
Due to our experience in the offshore infrastructure and offshore wind industry, we are aware that protecting marine life from the impacts of noise is key. To this end, Ace Aquatec and Ocean Health developed the FaunaGuard, a marine acoustic protection device that keeps targeted species out of range of noisy areas and associated harm.
With this approach we aim to protect and safeguard the health and existence of marine wildlife in our man-made world.
The value of acoustic protection through FaunaGuard
The innovative modular system emits scientifically validated low-volume acoustics that generate avoidance behaviour among animals in a safe way; not causing hearing loss, stress and physiological harm. FaunaGuard sounds slowly ramp-up after activation, giving animals ample time to swim away before noisy offshore construction starts.
Our customized modules make use of random inter-pulse intervals and complex tones to avoid habituation to the sounds among animals. This ensures that the target species will not come back to the site as they become accustomed to the sounds.
Global porpoise and seal habitat
FaunaGuard has been developed and tested for a range of species and deployed on projects worldwide. The development of our modules follows a stepwise approach. The first step is a literature study on the hearing range and suitable sounds for the target species, followed by behavioural response studies in basins, which are verified by field studies at sea afterwards.
Our most successful and most implemented module to date is the porpoise module. In 2016, field studies in the Wadden Sea confirmed extremely high effectiveness of this module; guiding away porpoises up to a distance of at least 1 kilometre. Shortly after FaunaGuard is switched off, porpoises are detected in the area again. Since 2018, the porpoise module has successfully been deployed on projects in Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Modules for fish and seals have been fully developed and deployed on offshore projects. For Minke whales, the field studies have almost been finalised whilst the turtle module is still subject to further field testing.