And it’s seriously fascinating!

By Marisa Spyker
May 24, 2018
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Squeaks, squawks, squeals, taps, and pops. This is what it sounds like in the Times Square of the deep—or what we can only presume it to be, based on the cacophony of sound we didn’t quite expect to hear when listening to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s new deep-sea live-stream.

Set 18 miles from the coast and 3,000 feet deep in the Monterey Bay, the hydrophone (an underwater microphone) was placed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in 2015. Scientists listened to the calls of the wild ocean for two years, stunned by the soundtrack. 

“When we first listened to these recordings we thought they were wonderful,” says lead scientist John Ryan, “and we wanted to share them with the public. I’m excited that we’ll finally have a chance to do this.”

Now, through a streaming Youtube video, anyone can eavesdrop on the sea. Though the hydrophone is placed deep in the ocean, most of the sounds it picks up are from activities higher up in the water, the Research Institute said in a press release. That’s because the device can pick up low-pitched sounds (like ship engines and whale calls) from up to hundreds of kilometers away. Higher-pitched sounds, like dolphin clicks, can travel just a few kilometers.

While some sounds from the hydrophone can be heard on phone or computer speakers, others (like the low-pitched call of whales) can only be heard with good headphones or subwoofer speakers. And if you have those, you can take a crash course in sealife dialect so you’re prepared to identify whatever noise the sea throws your way. Pretty cool, right?

Related: Scientists Have Discovered the Real Reason Why Whales Jump: