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Underwater Soundscapes

September 23, 2013

Microphone arrays around the North Pacific allow scientists to listen to the diversity of life under the sea.



Listening to the ocean. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Simone Baumann-Pickering lowers a microphone array into the Pacific Ocean. (Susanne Bard)

Aboard a research vessel, Scripps Institution of Oceanography biologist Simone Baumann-Pickering and her team lower an array of microphones into the Pacific Ocean. Then, they listen to the diversity of ocean life.

(SFX: Pogo fish/ocean forest)


Recording ocean sounds allows scientists to characterize the species living in different parts of the ocean and to monitor ocean health. In addition to actively listening, Baumann-Pickering says they’ve also set up passive acoustic monitoring stations up and down the North Pacific.

SIMONE BAUMANN-PICKERING (Scripps Institution of Oceanography):

The strength of these long-term acoustic recordings is we’re getting the full breadth of anything that produces a sound, so each ecosystem is going to have its own soundscape, and you’re going to be able to put together all the different puzzle pieces of that soundscape.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.