New Scientist Live: explore the soundscape of the deep sea | Artificial intelligence

A coral reef
It's noisier than you think down there

WaterFrame / Alamy

Under the ocean surface, a world of sound comes to life. No, it's not a plaice playing bass, or a carp on the harp – it's a symphony of noises both natural and manmade. The haunting song of the humpback whale and the sharp clatter of snapping shrimp mix with the rumble of motors and high-pitched naval sonar.

Blue Planet II scientific advisor Steve Simpson will be exploring this soundscape at New Scientist on Friday 21 September. Simpson will share his pioneering techniques for listening to the ocean, mapping the sounds of the seas, and deciphering the language of fish. What is the lionfish saying with its roar? Why do fish sing a dawn chorus on coral reefs like birds do on land? What does a love song from a finned paramour sound like? Hint: some are quite similar to a squeaky windshield wiper.

Simpson will address these and other questions, including how sea creatures are faring in an ocean that is getting noisier due to increased shipping and oil extraction. He'll also discuss his efforts to manage human noise pollution in the waters of the world.


Simpson's work on bioacoustics was featured on Blue Planet II, but “there's so much more to tell,” he says.

New Scientist Live is our award-winning festival of ideas and discoveries at the ExCeL London. The four-day event will feature more than 110 speakers giving thought-provoking talks on everything from the secrets of the red squirrel genome to the life and death of London's blue whale.

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