Underwater Soundscapes of Florida Bay

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

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

Team Members:

Jack Butler, Old Dominion University


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.