The oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. Sonic Sea is a film about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution. This was a free film screening followed by a panel discussion including Michael Jasny, Director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Brandon Southall, President and Senior Scientist for Southall Environmental Associates (SEA) Inc., and former Director of NOAAs Ocean Acoustics Program.

Sonic Sea
Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
499 Pierce Street, Monterey, CA 93940
6:00pm to 8:00pm

We thank the two-hundred community members who came out to learn about this important issue.

Upcoming Screenings:  Sonic Sea can be viewed at upcoming screenings around the world.
Take Action:   You can take action on this important issue by signing up on the Sonic Sea Alert List.  You'll get a series of alerts for taking action on this issue, starting with a petition to major shipping lines.
Event Video:  You can see the panel discussion and Q&A session with our guests Dr. Michael Jasny and Dr. Brandon Southall


Film Description

Sonic Sea is a 60-minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of a former US Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean. The film features ocean protection luminaries including Sylvia Earle and Jean-Michel Cousteau; experts on ocean noise (such as Chris Clark of Cornell, Leila Hatch of NOAA, and Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research); and the performer and activist Sting, who speaks as a musician to the importance of sound. The film is co-produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Imaginary Forces, in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Diamond Docs. It was written by Mark Monroe (“The Cove,” “Racing Extinction”) and has a haunting score, by Grammy award-winning film composer Heitor Pereira (“Minions,” “It’s Complicated”), and a powerful soundtrack representing both ocean noise and the sounds of the sea.

View the Trailer


More about the film Sonic Sea

More about the Sonic Sea Panelists

Michael Jasny
Director, Marine Mammal Protection, Natural Resources Defense Council

michael-jasnyMichael is a leading expert in the law and policy of ocean noise pollution, and has worked domestically and internationally through high-profile litigation, lobbying, science-based policy development, and public advocacy to improve regulation of this emergent global problem. He works to secure protection for endangered marine mammal populations, opposing development projects that threaten marine mammals off the U.S. and Canada, litigating with the US Navy over its use of high intensity sonar, and improving management of fisheries, whale-watching, and other sectors under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale College and J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Brandon Southall
President and Senior Scientist for Southall Environmental Associates (SEA), Inc. based in Santa Cruz, CA. Research Associate with the University of California, Santa Cruz; Adjunct Assistant Professor at Duke University.

brandon_southallBrandon Southall is currently involved in research to measure behavioral responses of marine mammals to various human sounds, primarily military sonar signals, the effects of impulsive noise on hearing in seals and sea lions in laboratory settings, efforts to implement quieting technologies on the largest commercial ships in the oceans, and developing environmentally-responsible ways of capturing offshore energy.

Brandon completed graduate studies at UCSC in 2002 on hearing and the effects of noise on seals and sea lions. He also conducted and continues fieldwork on northern elephant seal acoustic communication. From 2003 to 2009, Dr. Southall was a fisheries research biologist and director of NOAA’s Ocean Acoustics Program, during which time he: was involved in the development of acoustic exposure criteria for marine mammals; organized two international symposia on shipping noise and marine mammals and was centrally involved in the formation of correspondence group on the shipping noise issue within the International Maritime Organization; provided technical advice on regulatory policies and mitigation strategies for minimizing noise impacts; and served as co-principal investigator of a behavioral response studies recently conducted in the Bahamas and Mediterranean Sea and similar efforts being planned in southern California.

Jason Scorse--Moderator
Director of the Center for the Blue Economy

Monterey Institute of International Studies Professor Jason Scorse Monterey, Calif.Jason Scorse is the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) and Chair of the International Environmental Policy (IEP) program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, was promoted to Chair in 2009, and launched the CBE in 2011. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and sustainable development. Professor Scorse consults for major environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.