International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE)

  • Category
    Geography
  • Published
    19th Apr, 2021

In the latest development, scientists have come together to understand the impact of reduced anthrophony (human-made sounds) due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the marine ecosystem.

In this regard, the International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) has identified a network of over 200 non-military hydrophones (underwater microphones) in oceans across the world.

Context

In the latest development, scientists have come together to understand the impact of reduced anthrophony (human-made sounds) due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the marine ecosystem.

In this regard, the International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) has identified a network of over 200 non-military hydrophones (underwater microphones) in oceans across the world.

About

What is oceanic acoustics?

  • Ocean acoustics refers to the study of sound and its behavior in the waters.
  • When underwater objects vibrate, they create sound-pressure waves that alternately compress and decompress the water molecules as the sound wave travels through the sea.
  • Sound waves radiate in all directions away from the source like ripples on the surface of a pond.
  • The compressions and decompressions associated with sound waves are detected as changes in pressure by the structures in our ears and most man-made sound receptors such as a hydrophone, or underwater microphone.
  • Components: The three broad components of oceanic acoustics are
    • geophony (sounds created by non-biological natural events like earthquakes, waves, and bubbling),
    • biophony (sounds created by the ocean’s living creatures)
    • anthrophony

How will it be done?

  • The underwater microphones would pick up even faraway low-frequency signals from whales and other marine animals, as well as those emanated by human activities.
  • The researchers will do a comparative study of this quantitative picture of the ocean acoustics and other sets of data on marine life collected through methods such as animal tagging.
  • This will help them understand how the soundscape of the oceans is changing and how it impacts marine life.

International Quiet Ocean Experiment

  • The International Quiet Ocean Experiment was originally formed in 2011 by experts who wanted to create a time series of measurements of ambient sound in different ocean locations.
  • The main aim behind the initiative was to reveal variability and changes in intensity and other properties of sound at a range of frequencies.
  • Then 2020 came along, and presented a unique – and potentially unrepeatable – opportunity to compare ocean soundscapes in ‘business-as-usual and ‘quiet mode’.
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