Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) has developed significantly over the last 20 years and hydrophones are now being deployed in more locations, more often, by more people, than ever before. To celebrate the increasing breadth of the application of PAM around the world, and help promote public awareness of Ocean Sound to an increasingly interested global community, a new initiative has proposed a celebration of aquatic PAM on World Oceans Day (June 8).
Through the Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds (GLUBS), a call has gone out to hydrophone operators for their interest to participate in a World Oceans Passive Acoustic Monitoring (WOPAM) Day. The premise for the first year of this initiative is simple; to share data from any already planned deployments recording on June 8th for a collaborative study of our global aquatic soundscapes, whether in salt, brackish or freshwater. This means no one will change their current sampling frequencies, duty cycles or deployment configurations.
The overall dataset is not expecting to be collated until 2024. Many hydrophones are still to be deployed and will be retrieved in around 12 months’ time. Nevertheless, selected analyses will be completed ready for World Oceans Day 2024, to continue promoting the WOPAM Day initiative. In addition, experiences will be shared and example sound files taken from a range of locations will be used to produce an artistic piece to represent the global soundscape for the day.
For the analyses, the plan is currently as follows:
• Gather data as per usual and collectively see who is interested in a global dataset and what types of data are available.
• Recording sites will be categorized by their methodology and equipment specifications to match a set of tiered requirements for analysis and objectives. For example, calibrated systems are required for sound level estimates, appropriate sampling frequencies for high-frequency clicks, appropriate duty cycles for detection of short and long sound signals.
• Once the potential recording sites have been collated and an overall projected dataset has been identified, common analysis protocols will be developed and agreed by all partners.
• The number and distribution of datasets within each tier will be examined to assess what objectives the sampling design can robustly achieve (e.g., species distribution).
• Datasets allocated to a particular objective and type of analysis can then be processed and analysed by the respective partner collecting the data (or they may defer to another partner).
• Yet, the odd individual recording of unusual significance cannot be excluded. Thus, all recording sites and systems are welcomed and all data are valuable.
In this way, the project will engage in analysis throughout the acoustic community.
This process will help develop project protocols for next year, including accounting for the potential inclusion of citizen scientists and an increasing number of operators using a variety of hydrophone deployment systems, from highly-calibrated research systems to new, untested, low-cost units. It is planned that all recordings (noting some datasets may require approvals) will also be available for individual partners to interrogate the entire dataset with their own algorithms, but the above process will provide a transparent and standardized analysis as a base evaluation. We also intend to provide opportunities to engage citizen scientists (e.g., to identify signal times and types), and will explore the potential to develop annotated datasets where the validation is conducted by both experts and interested listeners.
So, if you already have a hydrophone in the water, that will be recording on June 8th (or have a planned project to deploy before then), and are interested in participating in WOPAM Day, please contact Miles Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Steve Simpson (email@example.com) for further information.
One additional item, is that we would like to take this opportunity to produce a promotional video to be ready for June 8th. So, if you are deploying a hydrophone over the coming months (that will still be in place recording on June 8th) we would love to have a video of the deployment that we can use. Whether it is from a surface installation (e.g., a pier), lowered over the side of a small boat, from the A-frame of a research vessel, attached to a mooring by a diver or remotely positioned by an ROV, it would be great to see. Please note, maintaining field operational health and safety standards of the respective institute and insurance will be the responsibility of the operators deploying the equipment. To be able to use these videos together, we would ask they:
1. Are filmed in landscape orientation;
2. Last about 10-20 seconds in duration for the deployment
3. Ensure all health and safety standards relevant to the deployment and project are upheld (e.g., everyone on the video is wearing appropriate protective personal equipment).
4. Include a short section with:
a. name of the person responsible for the recording
b. institute responsible for the recording (can be in a separate file – i.e. do not worry about getting this in the same shot as the deployment), ideally spoken by the contributor themselves.
if you wish,
c. a quote as to why you got into aquatic PAM and
d. a short snippet of the deployment location would be great (above or below water)
Please note, 1) we will not be able to use all videos and some contributions may only appear as a photo, some not at all 2) We can only use videos that represent deployments in a safe and respectable manner and 3) it is the responsibility of participants to ensure all deployments are conducted safely and within the risk assessments of their respective institutions. If successful, we would provide a draft version of the video and request permissions before it is shared publicly.