The main goal of the passive acoustics research at Florida Oceanographic is to
develop methodologies to monitor oyster reef health using sound. Passive acoustics uses the naturally occurring
sounds produced by the animals that live in the reefs.
Some animals like the naked goby, snapping
shrimp and toadfish intentionally produced sounds to communicate during mating,
aggression and feeding. Other animals
produce sounds accidentally while swimming, moving and feeding.
At Florida Oceanographic we use the sounds all these animals
produce to obtain information about the oyster reef. Oyster reefs are important ecosystems because
they provide habitat for more than 300 animal species. We use equipment like high tech underwater
microphones (called hydrophones), recorders and data analyzers to interpret the
data we collect in the field.
Although assessment of oyster reef restoration can be monitored doing direct sampling of the reef, passive acoustics is a new methodology that can efficiently and inexpensively monitor oyster reefs in a non-invasive manner. Furthermore, this technology can also be applied to other marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs and rocky reefs.