Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Tracey Dalton


Ocean noise has become a persistent global threat to marine mammal habitats. U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries have been regarded as possible ocean noise mitigation tools because of their special focus on conservation of marine resources and their location within key marine mammal habitats; yet previous evaluations of National Marine Sanctuaries have not focused specifically on their effectiveness in addressing ocean noise and its impacts on marine mammals. Using management plan and survey data of 11 U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries, this study investigates 1) the actions that Sanctuaries are taking to address ocean noise impacts from human activities on marine mammals and 2) the effectiveness of the U.S. National Marine Sanctuary Program at managing noise impacts on marine mammals. Findings indicate that the Program overall is moving toward effectiveness by conducting research, management, and education or outreach related to ocean noise and marine mammals. However, some individual Sanctuaries could take more action to mitigate ocean noise and the National Marine Sanctuary Program could increase its ocean noise education and outreach. Evaluation of Sanctuary ocean noise mitigation actions is crucial to ensure that Sanctuaries are fulfilling their purpose of protection and conservation by responding to emerging threats such as ocean noise pollution.

Available for download on Sunday, January 30, 2022