Office of the Chief Information Officer &
High Performance Computing and Communications

Peer Review Plans

Title and Description:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing: Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts

NOAA has developed draft guidance for assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal species under NOAA’s jurisdiction. The guidance provides updated received levels, or acoustic threshold levels, based on the best available science, above which individual marine mammals are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity (either temporary or permanent) for all underwater anthropogenic sound sources. This guidance is intended to be used by NOAA analysts and managers and other relevant user groups and stakeholders, including other federal agencies, when seeking to determine whether and how their activities are expected to result in particular types of impacts to marine mammals via acoustic exposure. Although NOAA has updated the acoustic threshold levels from those previously used, and these changes may necessitate new methodologies for calculating impacts, the application of the thresholds in the regulatory context under applicable statutes (Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Marine Sanctuaries Act) remains consistent with past NOAA practice. 

Behavioral threshold levels were originally included in the draft guidance and reviewed by the peer reviewers. NOAA is continuing our examination of the effects of noise on marine mammal behavior and will focus our work over the next year on developing guidance regarding the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammal behavior. Behavioral response is a complex question and we determined we still need time to research and address it appropriately. Behavioral guidance will have a separate peer review plan.

ID: 43 Info. Type:  HISA
Estimated Dissemination Date: 12/31/2014
Actual Dissemination Date (because behavioral portion separated out): 2/4/2014
Contact Person:Michael Liddel   NOAA Locator

Date First Posted in Peer Review Agenda:  12/16/2005

Estimated Peer Review Start Date: 7/5/2013
Review type:  individual letters
Expected number of peer reviewers:  4-10
Peer reviewers will be selected by:  a designated outside agency

Will the public, including scientific or professional societies, be asked to nominate potential peer reviewers? 
The Marine Mammal Commission nominated peer reviewers.

Will there be opportunities for the public to comment on the work product to be peer reviewed?  yes

How?  Public comment period and public meeting/webinar.

When? There was a 45 day public comment period that opened December 27, 2013 and closed March 13, 2014. Additionally, there was a public meeting/webinar held in Silver Spring, Maryland on January 14, 2014.

Will the agency provide significant and relevant public comments to the peer reviewers before they conduct their review? no (the peer review occurred before the public comment period).

Primary disciplines or expertise needed in the review:  Reviewers had expertise in acoustics, acoustics in the marine environment, acoustic ecology, behavior, and marine mammal hearing.

Comments on Peer Review:

The charge statement, peer review nomiations and reviewer credentials

Peer review report

Final work product (not yet available as of 9/24)