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Listening for ocean spills and their ecological effects
Date:11/16/2010

November 16, 2010 -- Scientists who study acoustics (the "science of sound") have over the years developed a variety of techniques to probe the hidden depths of oceans. This week, many of these acoustic researchers will come together to discuss how these technologies were used to monitor April's Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to present new data on the gusher's ecological impacts, and to highlight new techniques under development that could improve our ability to detect oil in ocean water.

This special session will take place on November 17, 2010 at the 2nd Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics, a major conference on the science and technology of acoustics held in Cancun, Mexico.

Some of these researchers will be presenting original data on the spill itself and its environmental impact.

Thomas Weber and colleagues at the University of New Hampshire in Durham and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Alaska Fisheries Science Center and Office of Coast Surveys will talk about Deepwater spill data collected using acoustic technologies originally developed for researching fisheries. For more information on this presentation, see their lay-language paper: http://www.acoustics.org/press/160th/weber.htm

When the deep wellhead burst, Natalia Sidorovskaia of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette found herself in a unique position. As a member of the Littoral Acoustics Demonstration Center of the University of Southern Mississippi, she had been part of a team listening to the waters near this rig for 9 years -- using underwater microphones (hydrophone) to count sperm whales and beaked whales in the area.

"One of our sites was only 9 miles away from the Deepwater Horizon site, said Sidorovskaia.

Thanks to a rapid response award from the National Science Foundation and ship time donated by Greenpeace, Sidorovskaia and two mathematicians
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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