Heather Spence, Marine Biologist
Orchestrating Coastal Marine Ecology Investigation and Outreach

Heather Spence, Marine Biologist

Sound Walk guide

Sound Walks can happen anywhere, anytime – all you need is to focus on listening. Whether for a minute or a day, taking the time to prioritize your ears (and your body – sound can be felt as well as heard!) leads to surprising discoveries and a sense of connectedness with the surrounding environment.

July 18 is World Listening Day. To celebrate, I encourage you to lead your own Sound Walk. Here’s a checklist to get you started.

  1. Do you want to do the sound walk by yourself, or with others? Do you want to record the experience?
  2. Where and when? Consider the types of sounds you may hear (‘natural’, manmade,…) at different times of day, as well as practical concerns such as shade, accessibility, desires and abilities of fellow sound walkers, etc. You might want to plan a route, or see where whim takes you.
  3. Begin the walk by just listening, taking in the rich acoustic information, avoiding talking in order to listen closely
  4. When ready, share observations. What did you hear? How would you describe it? Where is it coming from? How does it make you feel?
  5. Continue alternating listening and sharing – and at the end, please share your experiences with me and World Listening Day!

Enjoy!

For more information and ideas:

Https://www.sfu.ca/~westerka/writings%20page/articles%20pages/soundwalking.html

Www.peepandthebigwideworld.com/en/educators/curriculum/family-child-care-educators/sound/activity/guided-activity/85/listening-walk

Keywords:

Acoustic ecology

Soundscape

Deep listening

World Listening Project

Acoustic niche

Passive Acoustic Monitoring

 

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Earth Day 2017

earth
…ôrTH/
noun
 1. the planet on which we live; the world.
Today, we celebrate all life with explicit recognition of the abundance and opportunities our planet provides. Let each of us take at least a few moments today to reflect on how fortunate we are and consider how we can strengthen our communities and ecosystems.
michelle gardner quinn quote
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Sound Walk for Dolphin Day

Celebrate Dolphin Day by going on a sound walk!

Dolphin

Sound is central to dolphin lives. They use sound not only for communication, but also to “see” using echolocation!

You can learn more about sound in the environment and have a good time by going on a Sound Walk:

Choose a location. Any location. Alone or with a group.
Close your eyes and listen to any sounds you hear.
Now open your eyes and move to another nearby location. Do the same thing.
What sounds are the same? What sounds are different?
Try to describe the sounds. What is the source of the sound? What does the sound “sound” like?
What sounds are produced by living creatures? By machines?
Which sounds seem pleasant? Unpleasant?

Keep going as long as you can! You can also try multiple locations, indoors or outdoors.

You’ll be amazed at the things you discover when you actively focus on the wealth of sonic information that is all around us!

Spread the word and raise awareness of noise pollution and the importance of sound to dolphins!

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Sound and the Sea panel at National Academy of Sciences

In March I had the honor and privilege to curate and moderate a panel on Sound and the Sea at the National Academy of Sciences, as part of the DASER series. Bringing together science, music, policy and more we explored the ocean as a world of sound and how we can better respect and listen to it.

Videos of the presentations are now up on you tube -check them out!

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Cancun Fish party at night!

My latest publication, released today online in the Bulletin of Marine Science (available here as an open access article), describes Passive Acoustic Monitoring of fish off the coast of Cancun, and finds that their sounds are more frequent, persistent, and diverse at night versus during the day. This is crucial information for environmental management, which currently relies on daytime visual survey data. Nocturnal fish sounds are important!

Fish Silhouette Clip Art

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GRACIASS

Check out the new GRACIASS website, www.graciass.net
And please follow GRACIASS on facebook and twitter!

graciasslogo

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20th Anniversary of Marine Protected Areas in Cancun, Mexico

Dra. Heather SpenceAn excellent time for the intersection of science and art!

This week I am in Cancun celebrating World Listening Day 2016 and the 20th Anniversary of “Parque Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun y Punta Nizuc.” On Wedneday, July 20th, I presented at the official ceremony of the National Park held at the Ka’yok Planetarium in Cancun. My talk entitled “Sounds of the Reef” covered my work documenting the local soundscape and steps to mitigate noise pollution. To close the event, I gave a recital in which I performed the world premier of “Sonidos del Arrecife,” a work for solo cello and a soundtrack using underwater recordings.

Dra Heather Spence

 

Followed by some collaboration with the talented Daniel Gallo: ocean-themed cello – ukelele duos with excellent audience participation!

Heather Spence Daniel Gallo

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Finding Dory – Not A Fish You Want At Home

Dory is a Pacific Regal Blue Tang – one of several blue tang fishes, none of which you want to bring home with you.

Her scientific name is Paracanthurus hepatus. Scientific names help us to be clear about which species we are talking about, since fish have different common names in different regions and languages.

Canadian Radio Interview with Dr. Heather Spence about Finding Dory and marine conservation

 

1280px-Blue_tang_(Paracanthurus_hepatus)_02

“Dory” fish facts:

– can grow to about a foot long – a challenge for home aquariums

– live in saltwater exclusively

– eat a lot of algae which is important for coral reef health, since the fish help keep the coral from getting smothered by the algae

– have small but dangerous tail spines

– do not thrive in captivity
Some fish are bred in captivity, like “Nemo” fish or clownfish, but blue tangs are not bred in captivity.

Any “Dory” fish you see in stores are caught in the wild

The methods used to capture the fish in the wild are very destructive and include pouring poison into the ocean. These fish are important for coral reef health so removing them is a problem.

It is wasteful to take them from the ocean because they do not survive long in captivity.
Do not buy these fish! You will be encouraging the stores to capture more.

If you hear of someone who is thinking about buying a “Dory” please encourage them NOT to invest money into a short-lived and destructive practice, and instead support marine conservation efforts.

 

 

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Manatee Appreciation Day

ManateeHappy Manatee Appreciation Day!

Manatees are marine mammals in the Order Sirenia – named after Greek mythological Sirens. These herbivorous, aquatic ‘sea cows’ spend much of their time eating and sleeping. Slow moving, curious, and with high-frequency hearing, they are very vulnerable to being hit by boats with low-frequency motors. Special care should be taken when boating in manatee habitat.

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Lubchenco: “Hope for people and the Ocean” at National Academy of Sciences

Yesterday, Jane Lubchenco addressed a rapt audience at the Arthur M. Sackler Colloqiua of the National Academy of Sciences on “Coupled Human and Environmental Systems.”

Her talk, entitled “Enough with the doom and gloom! Holistic approaches bring hope for people and the environment” focused on success stories in fisheries management and Marine Protected Area regulations.IMG_20160314_180912765

 

Her message isn’t sugar coating – there are plenty of challenges and motivations to be worked out. Yet through top-down and bottom-up approaches, significant improvements can be made. For example, some fish stocks are increasing. Scale-able solutions need to be identified. Get involved, and stay hopeful.

For more on the role of hope in environmental management –

Smithsonian article by Dr. Nancy Knowlton: Why we have trouble talking about success in ocean conservation 

Paper I wrote about Hope and Environmental Management in Cancun (in Spanish)

 

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