Ocean Biodiversity Listening Project

Project Website

The ocean is full of sounds that are generated from geophysical events, marine animals, and human activities. By using a hydrophone (a microphone for underwater use), we can hear chirps of marine mammals, choruses of soniferous fish, and pulsed sounds of benthic invertebrates. These bioacoustic signals reveal the status of marine biodiversity and ecosystem health. On the other hand, the increased maritime traffic, over-exploitation of marine resources, and the development of renewable energy have led to a global increase in underwater noise. Listening to underwater sounds allows us to remotely acquire ecological data of marine biodiversity and investigate the changes of biodiversity in response to climate change and anthropogenic development.

In this project, we attempt to establish a large-scale soundscape monitoring network and characterize ecosystem-specific soundscapes by separating sounds from geophonic, biological, and anthropogenic sources. Based on information retrieval techniques, the acoustic data are transformed into metrics that describe the quality of acoustic habitat, the behavior of soniferous animals, and noise-generating activities. The outcomes will allow managers and stakeholders to use soundscape information to monitor the trends of marine ecosystems and perform data-driven decision making in conservation management.