Over the past 14 years of trading Subacoustech Ltd has successfully completed over 400 individual consultancy projects related to underwater noise and acoustic research. Projects range from a few days advice and support, to research programmes lasting many years. A few examples highlighting the scope of work undertaken by Subacoustech are provided in the following table.
Statement of Expertise
Subacoustech Ltd was formed in 1993 by Dr Jeremy Nedwell (formerly Admiralty Lecturer in Underwater Acoustics at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University of Southampton) and specialises in research and consultancy in bioacoustics on behalf of a wide range of companies, research organisations and NGOs. The company has set up several spinout companies based on new technology developed in house. One of these is the winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise.
Subacoustech has been responsible for a large number of studies of the effects of man made underwater noise offshore and in shallow water, including noise from wind farm construction, vessel movements, piling, dredging, blasting, seismic surveying, construction noise, diving, oil and gas extraction, pipeline laying, wellhead removal, rock placement, backfilling, helicopter movements, drilling etc.
The company has developed specialised equipment for monitoring of noise, and supplies equipment for this purpose to, for example, the UK Ministry of Defence. It is our policy that, wherever possible, measurements are made in accordance with best practice using calibrated Bruel and Kjaer transducers traceable to International Standards. In all cases copied certificates of calibration are supplied with reports, and a complete set of measurement conditions for the data are supplied. The measurements are taken over a wide frequency range of 1 Hz to 175 kHz, and a wide dynamic range, up to 120 dB if required, incorporating filtering and pre-emphasis as standard. Every record is checked for quality by our standard routines prior to analysis. The company has a large database of these broadband measurements, at the time of writing extending to over 300 Gbytes of high quality recordings, and has by far the largest database of measurements of piling noise and vibration currently available.
Subacoustech also writes the software used to analyse noise, and has proposed and validated the dBht(Species), a frequency dependent weighting scale based on the hearing threshold of marine animals. The technique is gaining increasing recognition as a standard for analysing noise in respect of behavioural and auditory effects of underwater noise on marine species. The company can therefore offer reliable and informed guidance on the likely levels of noise, estimation of its effects, measurements of noise and, critically, their interpretation in a biologically meaningful way. The company has a track record in both undertaking Environmental Assessments and providing specialist support to other companies undertaking Environmental Impact Assessment activities.
The companies principal investigators have many years of experience in developing standards for assessing environmental impact of underwater noise for the DTI, MoD and industry. Dr Jeremy Nedwell is the Technical Director of Subacoustech Ltd, and has 24 years experience in underwater acoustics, engineering acoustics and bioacoustics. Steve Parvin is the Managing Director of Subacoustech; having recently joined the company from QinetiQ where he held the post of Principal Scientist. He has over 20 years of experience in underwater research having led UK MoD research teams investigating the impact of underwater sound, been a member of the QinetiQ Environmental Assessment team, and developed underwater noise guidance for the UK MoD and the US Navy.