The Sounds of Place
Last week we set up acoustical equipment in 12 locations throughout the reserve, typically about 40 feet off the trails. The equipment will create an ecological soundscape of habitats… mapping sounds of animals and other living things (biophony), sounds coming from wind in the trees, rain, and the ocean (geophony), and sounds of jet planes, people talking, trains, gunshots, and lawnmowers (anthrophony). Together, these recordings will help describe our environment over time… who is there, who is missing, what is disturbed, what has changed.
Will these soundscapes reveal habitats of vitality or quiet? What changes happen over time? Is the food web diminishing or increasing with new animals, returning animals? Are the sounds different from year to year, day to day, month to month, season to season?
This Purdue University project is capturing soundscapes around the world for ecological acoustic research. The team that visited the reserve last week included a graduate research assistant from Iran (Maryam), the lead investigator (Bryan), a tech guy (Matt), a French post-doc (Amandine), and a musician (Kristen).
I volunteered to check on the equipment regularly to see if everything is working correctly, to change batteries, and to switch out data storage cards.
Learn More by Listening to These Stories
- Listening to Wild Soundscapes (Talk of the Nation, 2011)
- Recording the Global Soundscape (Science Friday, 2014)