This collection of recordings is from various salt water environments in Southeast Florida. Recorded using a JrF D-series hydrophone, this project looked to explore the underwater soundscape, and attempt to identify how much of an affect anthropogenic noise pollution has on the environment. Marine animals are generally very sonic creatures, and the extent to which boat noise and other sound pollutants affect these creatures is yet to be fully determined. This collection is hopefully the start of a larger, more comprehensive gallery of sound recordings that allow comparisons across time and space as we look to get a better understanding of the adverse affects human behaviors are causing underwater.
The Indian River is a “river” in name only- it is a saltwater segment of the Intracoastal Waterway between the Jupiter and Ft. Pierce Inlets. The waterway is narrow and sheltered from wind, and contains the Intracoastal Waterway Channel, in which boats can travel unimpeded from Key West to New Jersey. In many sections of the Indian River however boats are kept at slow and idle speeds due to protective Manatee Zones and erosion concerns as boat wakes eat away at waterfront property. This recording was taken on a late Tuesday morning on March 10, near high tide.
The Jupiter Inlet acts as an intersection between the Atlantic Ocean, the Loxahatchee River, and the Intracoastal Waterway. While it is a relatively small inlet, it is also significantly well populated, and the narrowness causes boats to crowd together and their sounds to not be dispersed by open areas. Additionally there is a nearby sandbar that becomes a crowded party hotspot on weekends. I captured this recording on a moderately rough day in mid-March, an early Thursday afternoon at around high tide, so a relatively light amount of boat traffic was present. Still, you can hear the overwhelming effect of boat traffic, compared to biophonic (from non-human living organisms) sounds, on the soundscape.
The Inlet immediately to the north of Jupiter Inlet is St. Lucie Inlet. It is significantly wider and geographically larger, and is less populated than the Jupiter Inlet area. This recording was taken on an early Tuesday afternoon in March.
Approximately two miles offshore of Jupiter Island is a submerged tanker, measuring 70 feet in length and sitting in about 80 foot deep water. The wreck is a popular fishing spot among locals, but there were no other boats in the immediate vincinity when this recording was taken: a Thursday late morning in early March with 4-6 foot seas. This recording was taken from an underwater hydrophone.
Simultaneously recorded as "Wreck", this recording captures the above air sounds during the recording. In comparison, we can see that the underwater sonic environment is actually significantly more active.
Jupiter Inlet recording equalized to limit boat noise. With the high frequencies removed, less boat traffic is picked up. However this also limits natural noises—such as snapping shrimp—and does not fully eliminate the audible boat noise.
Side by side comparison of above-air recording with hydrophone recording taken in the Indian River, then combination of total air and water soundscape. The order is above air recording followed by hydrophone recording followed by combined recordings.
Some fisherman argue that any unnecessary noise from on the boat—such as the radio—will announce your presence to fish and thus scare them away. Others argue that music in the water will create a disturbance that will attract fish to the new environment. This recording puts together hydrophone recordings compared with above air recordings of the boat radio being played at three-quarter volume. The hydrophone was at an approximate depth of three feet, laying four feet off the stern. Recordings were taken in the Indian River.