RESOURCES: Sea Sounds

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Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1305
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5597.1305b

Debate over how humanmade noise in the ocean affects marine mammals has made headlines, with the recent precedent-setting cancellation of a research cruise that was using sound to map the ocean floor and a court order blocking a new Navy sonar (Science, 8 November, p. 1155). For a closer look at ongoing studies that use and explore sound in the ocean, check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Acoustic Monitoring Project Web site.

The Acoustic Monitoring Project has performed continuous monitoring of ocean noise since 1991, using the Navy Sound Surveillance System and autonomous underwater hydrophones. Just plug in your desired latitude and longitude to receive hydrophone data from the East Pacific Rise, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, or North Pacific. The Web site also describes projects, ranging from those using sound to detect undersea earthquakes and monitor marine mammals to efforts to study the effects of noise on ocean life. The image shows a spectrogram of the sounds produced by a blue whale compared to repeated noise from an air gun, fired in Nova Scotia but recorded more than 3500 kilometers away on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The site also includes a detailed underwater acoustics tutorial. A sister site, developed as part of NOAA's Ocean Explorer program, offers a similar tutorial geared toward a more general audience.

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