When was the last time you heard the bottom of the sea? Probably never. At this moment, I am listening to the soft sounds of Monterey Bay from an underwater microphone located almost a kilometer below the surface.
It was placed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in 2015, and is located approximately 29 kilometers away from the Californian coast. Now, the oceanographic center is transmitting live the strange and wonderful sounds of dolphins, sea lions and other inhabitants of the ocean for all to enjoy.
The super sensitive microphone, or hydrophone, is connected to the MBARI marine observatory and the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS), which feeds the instrument and provides a data connection to transmit sounds to the coast, 24 hours a day. day.
According to the MBARI:
The new hydrophone does not look very impressive.It’s just a metal cylinder about five centimeters in diameter, mounted on a metal tripod at the bottom of the muddy sea.But it is extremely sensitive and can pick up a wide range of sounds, including those too low and too loud for humans to hear.
Many of the sounds you can hear come from animals that are close to the surface, says the MBARI.
Treble sounds, like dolphin clicks, do not travel too far through the water, so if these sounds appear in the stream, they are likely to be generated within a few kilometers of the hydrophone. However, the low sounds of boat engines can travel tens of kilometers, and some whale songs can come from animals hundreds of kilometers from Monterey Bay.
I’ve been watching the transmission for an hour and, so far, I’ve detected a kind of cetacean noise and what looked like a ship’s propeller. The ocean is great, guys. If you want to be a professional about it, MBARI made a guide so you can determine if you are listening to “biophony” (sounds of marine life), “geophony” (sounds of the earth) or anthropophony (sounds created by humans).
“It can be quiet at times, and then move from quiet to cacophony in minutes,” said MBARI’s lead scientist, John Ryan, in a statement. “So, if people do not listen much at any given time, they should definitely check back later.”
In addition to being a delicious distraction, the livestream offers valuable information about the Monterey Bay soundscape, which MBARI classifies as “relatively quiet” compared to other nearby areas. This type of data is especially important for the study of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is a federally protected area that covers just under 10 square kilometers of ocean. Similar studies have found that blue whales are reducing the frequency of their songs due to the acoustic interference of the boats.
“When we first heard these recordings we thought they were wonderful and we wanted to share them with the audience,” Ryan said. “I’m excited that we finally have the opportunity to make it possibl