The next decades will see increasing levels of offshore industrial development that will
lead to increased levels of noise pollution in the oceans. These sounds can have physical,
physiological and behavioural effects on marine fauna in the area of activity: mammals, reptiles,
fish and invertebrates can be affected at various levels depending on the distance to the sound
source. The problem faced by the industry, and more generally by society, is that many economically
important activities at sea are at risk because of a lack of information about the effects of
anthropogenic sound on marine mammals and especially a lack of available tools to mitigate these
effects. Technological developments were needed to combine the interests of the industry and the
good environmental status of the oceans.
The Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB) of the Technical University of Catalonia (BarcelonaTech,
UPC) is leading an international programme entitled "Listen to the Deep Ocean Environment (LIDO)" to
apply and extend developed techniques for passive acoustic monitoring of natural (e.g. rain, waves,
earthquakes), biological (e.g. cetaceans, fishes, crustaceans) and artificial (man-made noises) sounds
to cabled deep sea platforms and moored stations. LIDO constitutes the technical development support
of the applied solutions that are now integrated and available for the administrations and the offshore
The software framework developed under this programme is currently active at several sea observatories
around the world: these include the ANTARES (ANTARES Collaboration, France) neutrino observatory, the
OBSEA (UPC, Technical University of Catalonia, Spain) shallow water test site, the NEPTUNE (University
of Victoria, Canada) network, the Kushiro and Hatsushima (JAMSTEC, Japan) observatories and the NEMO
(INFN, Italy) sites. The system was also tested and implemented in autonomous gliders and towed arrays
in collaboration with the NURC (NATO Undersea Research Centre, La Spezzia, Italy), autonomous radio-linked
buoys, trawler-safe bottom-mounted structures and on offline recordings.
The LIDO software contains several independent algorithms that process real-time data streams. Among
these, dedicated modules conduct noise assessment (that include the European Marine Strategy Directive
descriptors of noise), detection, classification and localization of acoustic sources. From the acoustic
data stream, LIDO characterizes and localises the detected events, produces spectrograms for live
visualization and compresses audio for online access. It should be noted that the compressed audio is
only provided to allow users to listen to a sound stream with minimal bandwidth usage; it is specifically
not used for any scientific analysis, this latter being conducted obviously before displaying the results.
The raw data is optionally stored locally if there is an interest in subsequent research.