Woods Hole Researchers ‘Listen’ to the Ocean Floor

LightningWOODS HOLE – Listening to the noise of the deep sea.

That’s the intent as researchers with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, recently placed a handful of recording devices along the ocean floor from George’s Bank to New Jersey to listen to the sounds of whales, dolphins and other marine life.

It’s part of a national effort to establish a network to monitor long term changes in ocean noise.

The high frequency acoustic recording packages or harps are now a part of a network spanning down the coast all the way to Florida.

They will help researchers better understand biological activity along the Northeast continental shelf break before seismic exploration happens off the east coast.

In addition to the harps, a NOAA noise reference station was also recently redeployed about 200 miles off the coast at a depth of roughly 10,000 feet which will capture and characterize the ambient noise in the deep ocean as part of a larger noise project being conducted by NOAA and the national parks service.

The ultimate goal of these various projects is to not only better understand the ocean depths and the changes within, but how those changes impact the ocean habitat.

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