Underwater Soundscapes of Florida Bay

Vimeo Link:  https://vimeo.com/263664333

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/rh3ehBvMQJo

Team Members:

Jack Butler, Old Dominion University

Summary:

Marine scientists have begun to recognize that the soundscapes of marine habitats – that is, all the sounds emanating from a specific habitat – are vital components of healthy, functioning ecosystems. In our study, we recorded and analyzed the soundscapes of the three dominant habitats of Florida Bay, FL (USA): the submerged prop-roots of mangrove fringed islands, seagrass beds, and hard-bottom. Comparing the soundscapes of these habitats, we found that mangrove islands and hard-bottom habitats were louder than and exhibited more snapping shrimp snaps than seagrass beds. Furthermore, we compared recordings of hard-bottom habitat degraded by algal blooms and recordings of hard-bottom habitat undergoing active habitat restoration efforts to recordings of healthy hard-bottom habitat, and found that degraded hard-bottom was much quieter than healthy hard-bottom; however, our restoration areas sounded similar to healthy areas, meaning our efforts to restore degraded hard-bottom help those soundscapes to recover as well.

Original Publication: 

Butler, Jack, Jenni Stanley, and Mark Butler. 2016. Underwater soundscapes in near-shore tropical habitats and the effects of environmental degradation and habitat restoration. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology479: 89-96

Link to Publication: 

Support Provided by: NOAA-TNC Community Restoration Program; Florida Sea Grant

By the Numbers

Over 40,000 students in 50 US states, the US Virgin Islands, and 25 countries participated as judges in the 2016 Ocean 180 Video Challenge.

Questions?