Soundscapes in the North Adriatic Sea and their impact on marine biological resources


The Blue World Institute is a partner of the Soundscape project which is co-financed by the European Union. The project is in collaboration with eight partners from Italy and Croatia, with the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOF) being the lead partner. The Soundscape project is part of the Priority Axis 3: Environment and cultural heritage with specific objective 3.2: Contribute to protect and restore biodiversity.


The Northern Adriatic Sea has been highly impacted by increasing maritime traffic, tourism and resource exploitation whilst having a very vulnerable biodiversity. The Soundscape project is a cross-border scientific and institutional cooperation between Italy and Croatia and its main objective is to assess the impact of underwater noise on the marine biodiversity. This kind of research is important because it aims to ensure an efficient protection of the sensitive marine species and sustainable use of marine and coastal ecosystems.



To achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of EU marine waters by 2020, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) Descriptor 11 (D11) points out the need to monitor and manage underwater noise. The Soundscape project will contribute to fill in the gap in the knowledge on underwater noise by collecting continuous noise measurements, evaluating its impact on biodiversity, and carrying out advanced sound propagation modelling in the Northern Adriatic Sea.

To contribute to the goals of the Soundscape project, the Blue World Institute has deployed two hydrophones in the Kvarnerić area with concurrent monitoring of marine traffic intensity and spatio-temporal distribution via theodolite, with the aim to collect data on year-round underwater noise variations. These will be modelled with the data on bottlenose dolphins’ spatial and temporal distribution to better understand the effects underwater noise has on this species which is protected by Croatian national laws. Furthermore, the Blue World Institute, in collaboration with IOF, collected data on the recreational boat noise source levels which will be used for the underwater sound propagation modelling to ground truth the data obtained. This will enable a better understanding on how boat traffic and the related underwater noise affect protected species occurring in the Adriatic Sea.


Hydrophone deployment, Lošinj area, Croatia


Actions of the project

  • Promoting the project through public events in Italy and Croatia and with the use of digital media.
  • Implementing a shared monitoring network for a coordinated regional and transnational assessment of the underwater noise by positioning nine hydrophones in the Northern Adriatic Sea.
  • Evaluating the impact of noise on marine biological resources. This includes investigating the effects of underwater noise on two target species, the bottlenose dolphin and the Loggerhead sea turtle.
  • Developing and implementing a planning tool for straightforward management.


Project Partners

  • Lead partner: Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOF)
  • National Research Council (CNR)
  • Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation (BWI)
  • Environmental Protection Agency of Friuli Venezia Giulia (ARPA FVG)
  • Cetecea Foundation (CF)
  • Marche Region (REM)
  • Ministry of Environment and Energy (MEE)
  • Teaching Institute for Public Health, Primorje-Gorski Kotar county (TIPH)


 Duration and Budget

  • Project duration 01/2019 – 11/2021
  • Total budget 2.146.040,50 € (ERDF 1.824.134,41 €)


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