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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ecologies of Sound and Sea: An Auditory Journey through Acoustic Ecology

  • Author(s): Amor, Michelle G.
  • et al.

Sound can be defined as an auditory impression and sensation, perceived by the sense of hearing. Sound is a mechanical radiant energy, transmitted by longitudinal waves of pressure through a material medium. A material medium is determined by the environment, which can be gas, liquid, or solid. The characteristics of this medium, such as temperature and density affect the characteristics of propagation of sound. Every sound heard is a signal within an environment.

These sound signals then become a part of a network of sound signals interacting amongst one other. Collections of sonic networks then create complete soundscapes. Each soundscape, which is defined by its environment, has a unique signature that describes the state of being of that place. Studying the relationships within these soundscapes is called acoustic ecology. Acoustic ecology is a way to quickly assess the overall ecosystem properties of a place and its health. One of the most effective ways to transmit sound to the public is through radio, which has the ability to communicate information to large audiences and in different cultures around the world.

Podcasts, online radio systems, are becoming increasingly popular, allowing listeners to tune into a specific genre or show. The Podcast created for this presentation, Ecologies of Sound and Sea is a subversive science communication project about Sound, Listening, Stewardship and Ecology. From interviews of leading researchers to composers, all focused on the significance of sound within acoustic ecology. This project works towards creating social and communal change.

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