GHD and the University of Melbourne to dive deeper into underwater noise

15 October 2020

Like submarines, many marine animals rely on sound rather than sight.

However, underwater noise caused by marine projects can affect the way they hear, communicate and behave.

a whale with an acoustic wave drawn behind it

GHD has partnered with the University of Melbourne to offer opportunities for PhD and Masters students to pursue joint research into underwater noise.

The outcomes of this research can help improve the environmental assessment, design and construction of projects such as ports, jetties, bridges, offshore wind farms, and oil and gas developments.

As part of the partnership, a group of Masters students will research the ‘Prediction of background underwater noise using meteorology parameters’ under the supervision of Professor Alexander Babanin from the University of Melbourne; Val Lenchine, GHD’s Technical Director (Noise & Vibration); and Craig McVie, GHD’s Service Line Leader (Air & Noise).

Craig says, Partnering with respected institutions like the University of Melbourne enables GHD to provide its clients with industry-leading solutions for their projects while at the same time expanding industry knowledge and technological capabilities in underwater noise. The ability to predict background noise through remote meteorology, bathymetry, salinity, and temperature sensing allows for reduced cost to clients, avenues for machine learning, and refined under water noise prediction.

Prof Babanin says, As part of our joint capstone project with GHD, a group of Masters students from the Infrastructure Department will analyse underwater sound recordings from Lake George, with the purpose of detecting and quantifying the pulses of acoustic noise due to wave-breaking events, and the background ambient noise through its dependence on the wind speed. This is fantastic opportunity for our students to apply their skills to solve practical tasks relevant to construction of port and sea infrastructure and other underwater noise applications.