Freshwater – usually one of the first things we think about when we think about water, mainly because it is essential to us. At its source, freshwater takes many forms, such as creeks, streams, lakes, and rivers. When most people picture these water forms, they most likely associate both image and sound with each of those words. While the image component of the “picture” is interesting, the sonic part is arguably more so, as there are multiple perspectives involved. Although the soundscape as we hear it above water is generally familiar to everyone, many generally imagine what it sounds like underneath assuming it produces a sound similar to what they hear above the surface. This is a general misconception, and the actual sounds can be played and will be described.
Freshwater is also interesting because of the life around the scene that is part of the soundscape and because of the flow of water and possible aquatic life underneath that influence the overall soundscape. Questions can be posed that relate to how the animals adapt to their soundscape and how external forces influence their surroundings. Obviously, this is a very difficult question to answer, as it is difficult, as humans, to gauge the feelings and thoughts of animals such as aquatic insects and fish. We can at most guess, based on the reactions of the organisms and behavioral psychology, how this life is being impacted by disturbances. Because of this, the scope of our experiment will be appropriately narrowed in order to focus more on how outside forces, such as animal sounds, etc. possibly affect the nature of the soundscape underneath. More information can be found at our site, kne393.wix.com/water-acoustics
This recording details the above and under water soundscapes on an afternoon at a relatively calm spot at Ellerbee Creek in North Carolina. Hydrophones were used to obtain the underwater soundscape, which sounds like water softly bubbling underneath. This nicely complements the sound of bird calls and other wildlife that can be heard above the surface.
An area of very shallow water flowing over the rocky bottom was selected, and recording performed there in order to hear the sounds of a quickly flowing creek. This recording is the soundscape heard above the surface of the water. There are some bird calls, some sort of bumping noises, and a general white noise due to the flow of the creek in the background. The sound of the creek is not that loud.
A very calm, relatively deeper area of the creek was chosen. The area is seemingly dead. By now, the birds are really into it, and what seems to be a call-and-response between possibly a couple (if you listen closely, the call and the response are unique) can be heard. They and other wildlife sounds are very prevalent in this natural soundscape.
This is the combination of the above surface and below water recordings done at a very calm area of Ellerbee Creek. It is rather difficult to hear the aquatic sonic environment, although if you pay very close attention sometimes you can pick up an occasional movement. This also gives rise to an interesting point: the water seems to act as a thick sonic shield, difficult to penetrate, as the underwater soundscape seems to be completely insulated from the diverse range of sounds taking place outside. The overlay of these two recordings produces a calming effect due to the nature sounds above the water and the calm water soundscape below.
A region of rather shallow water was selected in hopes of comparing the sound heard here to that at Ellerbee Creek. The lake is actually not all that still, due to the wind that day. This is the combined recording of the above and below water soundscapes at this particular location. Essentially, there is quite some water action going on here, but not really much else, as there was little wildlife present at the lake. Also, the overall soundscape nicely includes the underwater component, as it focuses in on a more narrow location, whereas the rippling water hits the shore all around the area to create a very easily audible and relaxing water soundscape.
One of the docks was open, and a recording was done there. The dock extended to a decent distance from the shore, so a better idea of the soundscape in the middle of the lake could be obtained. The recording, as previously mentioned, was interrupted by brief moments of human voice. Otherwise the soundscape is quite quiet. Since this recording was taken closer to the middle of the lake, there is significantly less splashing and sloshing due to the fact that the shore is a ways away. The reeling in and out of a fishing pole and an older man's voice piercing the soundscape can serve as a reminder of how interconnected soundscape components are.
This was a recording done on the underwater soundscape at one of the docks, so at a deeper location in the lake. It is actually not so calm; there is quite a bit of bubbling and trickling that this might as well be the outside sound of a brook.
This is the combined recording of the above and underwater soundscapes at a location in a deeper portion of the lake. The combined recordings seem to sound similar to the others, but according to the two above, it seems like the two are reversed. The outside soundscape is quieter than the aquatic one, and the aquatic one is the one that is actually active and provides the "splashing" sounds. This might be because there is more physical water movement when there is more water, such as in this case, whereas in shallow water there is relatively less water which in turn does not flow as much.
This comination of the above and underwater recordings of a waterfall in the El Río Grande Jimenez was taken at the rocks to get a sense of the sound at the origin of the falls. Since this was taken above the waterfall, the waterfall can be heard clearly in the background. It should be noted how it sounds very continuous, like white noise. While the soundscape above the water picked up the waterfall, this aquatic soundscape sounds peaceful and the quiet bubbling of water does not provide any idea of surrounding. The combination of the two provides a nice juxtaposition. The two really do not sound like each other; however they were taken in the same location. This shows how different the nature of aquatic soundscapes are.
This recording was taken in the falls, at the base, so expect some powerful sound from all this water plummeting down from above. The above the surface soundscape is quite loud; as we are listening to a waterfall, this can be expected. We can hear water falling down and landing below.
Since the recording was taken at the the base of the falls, this underwater recording is noticeably loud. The hydrophones can be heard plopping in and out of the water due to the force with which the water is hitting them.