URI Office of Marine Programs Launches Website That Explores the Sounds of the Sea

Media Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642

URI Office of Marine Programs
Launches Website That Explores
the Sounds of the Sea

Narragansett, RI — November 25, 2002 — The sea is not a silent place, but a world filled with sound created by marine animals, human activities, and natural phenomena such as lightening, volcanoes and rain. To hear the sounds that fill the oceans and seas of the world, you simply have to sail the Internet to the new Discovery of Sound in the Sea website.

The URI Office of Marine Programs (OMP) at the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) launched a new website today that allows viewers to take a virtual field trip into the watery depths to hear the sounds that oceanographers, submariners, whales, dolphins, seals – in short, all who work or live in the ocean – rely on to sense their surroundings, to communicate, and to navigate.

There are several major sections on the Discovery of Sound in the Sea website, including The Science of Sound in the Sea, People and Sound in the Sea, and Animals and Sound in the Sea. The sites Audio Gallery section is a fascinating place to visit to listen to underwater sounds created by marine animals, human activities, and natural events. There is also a special section for teachers featuring resources and classroom activities.

Located at http://omp.gso.uri.edu/dosits.htm, the website complements the successful Discovery of Coastal Environments and Discovery of Estuarine Environments sites, launched in 1998 and 2001, respectively. These sites continue to generate more than 150,000 hits per month. The new site explores how marine animals use sound to communicate with one another and how marine mammals use sound to locate food. It also allows the visitor to discover how sounds from outside the water, such as rain, volcanic and earthquake activity, as well as human sounds made by boats and planes, impact the marine environment.

In addition, the website illustrates how scientists use sound to conduct oceanographic research. Sound is used to measure the temperature of the ocean, investigate ocean currents, examine the sea floor, and study undersea earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Using sound, researchers can listen to whales all across the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans and discover where the animals are located during different times of the year.

“I am very proud of the work of my staff” said OMP Associate Director Gail Scowcroft. “This is an incredible resource for students, teachers, and the general public. There are many misunderstandings about sound in the ocean and the effects of the sound that we produce on marine animals. I hope this site dispels many myths while opening up a portal to the fascinating and often quite loud undersea environment.”

The Discovery of Sound in the Sea web site was developed by Scowcroft and Kathy Raposa, a scientist at Marine Acoustics, Inc., of Newport. This resource, with contributions from OMP staff, Rhode Island school teachers, and scientists from URI and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was produced with funding from the US Office of Naval Research.

Established in 1986 as the marine and environmental outreach arm of URIs Office of the Vice Provost for Marine Programs, OMPs targeted audiences include educators and students at all levels, the general public, volunteers, scientists and engineers, journalists and the media, alumni, donors, and friends of the Graduate School of Oceanography. Housed in the Coastal Institute at URIs Narragansett Bay Campus, OMP outreach efforts are focused in the areas of marine and environmental education and science communications.


Discovery of Sound in the Sea

Discovery of Estuarine Environments

Discovery of Coastal Environments