Multidimensional Comparison of Underwater Soundscapes Using the Soundscape Code

TitleMultidimensional Comparison of Underwater Soundscapes Using the Soundscape Code
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsWilford, DC, Miksis-Olds, J, Martin, SB
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Date PublishedNovember 1

The soundscape of a given habitat is a product of its physical environment, human activity, and presence of soniferous marine life, which can be used to understand ecosystem processes, habitat quality, and biodiversity. Shallow coral habitats are hotspots of biodiversity and marine life. Deep-sea coral environments, in comparison, are generally poorly understood. Four soundscapes along the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and one soundscape from the Great Barrier Reef were quantified to explore how differences in habitat, depth, and substrate manifest acoustically. Comparisons were made between (1) deep, cold-water and shallow, warm-water coral reefs and (2) deep-sea coral and sandy bottom habitats. Application of the soundscape code to recordings in each location seeded cluster analyses of soundscape metrics and an assessment of daily trends to quantitatively compare the soundscapes. The shallow, tropical reef soundscape differed from the deep-sea soundscapes in amplitude and impulsiveness. Differences in soundscape properties among the deep-sea soundscapes suggested cold-water coral sites produce different soundscapes than the deep sites without live hard bottom. This initial assessment of deep-sea soundscapes along the U.S. OCS provides baseline acoustic properties in a region likely to experience changes due to climate and human use.

Refereed DesignationRefereed