Underlying the IQOE are five fundamental questions:
- How have human activities affected the global ocean soundscape compared with natural
changes over geologic time?
- What are the current levels and distribution of sound in the ocean?
- What are the trends in sound levels across the global ocean?
- What are the current effects of anthropogenic sound on important marine animal populations?
- What are the potential future effects of sound on marine life?
These questions will be addressed within four IQOE Themes. Questions 1-3 will be addressed by Theme 1, and Questions 4 and 5 will be addressed by Theme 2. Theme 2 will build on Theme 1 and Theme 3 will build on both Themes 1 and 2. The three themes are divided into key questions and research approaches to each of these questions. Theme 1 will primarily be addressed by ocean acousticians and Theme 2 by marine biologists, but there will need to be an unprecedented level of cooperation between these two communities to ensure the success of the IQOE.