Adrift in a sea of noise

Imagine walking around your neighborhood in a dense fog as night settles in; you may be familiar with the layout, but everything seems different. Innocuous obstacles like low-hanging tree branches and broken sidewalks become invisible right until you stumble upon them. You must be extra vigilant in order to avoid blindly injuring yourself as visibility drops.

For many humans, sight is our most valuable sense, but for marine mammals like dolphins, whales, and seals, their hearing is most precious. As sound travels better through water than air, the ocean is already a noisy place with atmospheric activity and other animals passing around, but their senses have had millions of years to evolve in such an environment. Unfortunately, because of an increased human presence in the ocean, like a fog bank rolling in, the ocean is getting noisier and putting these already threatened animals in danger.

Samara ready to deploy a hydrophone

Samara ready to deploy a hydrophone in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Samara Haver, a Masters student of Holger Klinck in Wildlife Science is interested in knowing about how the noise is affecting marine life. To do this, she must first characterize the ocean soundscape with hydrophones (pictured right) situated in various parts of the globe. With these data, she hopes to understand how loud the ocean is, how much noisier it’s getting, and where the noise is coming from. Tune in on Sunday, February 28th at 7PM PST on 88.7 FM in Corvallis or stream us online at http://kbvr.com/listen to hear Samara’s journey into the sounds of science.

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This entry was posted in Animal Bioacoustics, Fisheries and Wildlife on by .

About Zhian Kamvar

Zhian got his Ph. D. in the department of Botany and Plant Pathology ( advisor: Dr. Niklaus Grünwald) developing software tools for genetic analysis of clonal populations. He has had a passion for radio ever since he started in 2004 at Truman State University’s radio station: KTRM, Kirksville. Beyond being a scientist and radio host, he speaks intermediate Korean and enjoys baking, writing music, listening to the Screaming Females, and watching bad SF/Horror movies.

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  1. Pingback: Adrift in a sea of noise – Samara Haver

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