The Sonic Pulse of the Ocean

“You need to know what the habitat sounds like when it’s healthy. When the soundscape has changed, the habitat may have changed, too,” Chong Chen, a deep-sea biologist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, tells The New York Times. This statement informs a burgeoning field of aquatic research wherein acousticians catalogue deep-sea soundscapes in order to understand and track issues in various ecosystems. The study could provide much-needed insight regarding diversity in the deep sea, a place untouched by high-quality cameras and unreachable by human divers. Hydrophones (underwater recorders) can delve into the darkness to capture the snaps, cracks, groans, grunts, clicks and meeps the sea-floor population makes. From these recordings, estimations can be made about what types of creatures inhabit the area, how many there may be and more. This information will prove especially pertinent as deep-sea mining expeditions often occur near populated areas. Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of NOAA