Keeping Our Ears to the Water

11 June 2011

The acoustics team has had tumultuous start to Leg 1. After battling technical problems with the hydrophone array for several days, we switched over to our backup array.  As of today, June 11, everything is sounding great ,and we are excited to be listening again! We would like to give a big shout out to the Henry B. Bigelow deck crew, who have been patient and helpful as our plans change again and again and have unspooled and respooled 400 m of cable on deck for us nearly every day.  This has been no small task, and we couldn’t have done it without their assistance.

Scientists trimming "cookie monster" hair off the hydrophone cable to reduce drag during towing.

Although the hydrophones have spent a lot of time on deck this week, we did have several acoustic detections,  including sperm whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphinsRisso’s dolphins, and pilot whales.

You can listen to the vocalizations of a large group of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) that we encountered by clicking here.

Our array contains two hydrophone elements, and the spacing between them allows us to estimate angles to the groups of animals we are hearing. We hope to match up our detections with the visual sightings in order to identify the sounds we record by species. The visual observers have been helping us out by calling down their sightings to the acoustics lab, which is much appreciated!

by Joy Stanstreet

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