Exploration and discovery
Exploration inevitably leads to discovery. MBARI is uniquely positioned to explore the deep-sea realm and its connections with the ocean surface. Easy access to Monterey Bay’s deep submarine canyon provides a natural laboratory for scientific research and engineering innovation. Developing and expanding our access to this undersea laboratory has been a primary theme since MBARI’s founding. Platforms and sensors for observing the deep ocean and for conducting interactively controlled in situ experiments are hallmarks of MBARI’s achievements. The continued use, development, and creative integration of these assets permit MBARI research teams to transcend many of the limitations faced by other scientists and engineers who endeavor to study marine environments.
Sounds from the deep sea goes public
Live stream from hydrophone:
Anyone can eavesdrop on sounds in the deep sea via a continuous streaming YouTube video that carries live sound from 900 meters (3,000 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay. The sounds on this stream come from an underwater microphone (hydrophone) that the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute placed on the seafloor in 2015. The hydrophone is located about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from shore, just west of Monterey Bay. It is attached to the MARS undersea cabled observatory, which carries data from the hydrophone back to shore.
The MARS hydrophone can capture sounds both above and below the range of human hearing. The new live stream does not carry high-pitched sounds above human hearing, but it does include very low sounds such as those produced by some whales. Listeners can hear these sounds if they have good headphones or subwoofer speakers.
MBARI researcher John Ryan notes that sounds in the bay can vary dramatically. “It can be quiet at times, and then go from quiet to cacophony in minutes. So if people don’t hear much at one point in time, they should definitely check in again later.”
In addition to hearing sounds from the hydrophone, listeners can also “see” the sounds in the form of a spectrogram that scrolls across the screen of the YouTube video. There is also an online “listening room” web page. Recordings on this web page help visitors identify and learn about the calls made by different types of whales and dolphins, as well as natural processes such as rain and earthquakes.