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Passive Acoustics

“Passive acoustics” doesn’t need self esteem training – the term “passive” distinguishes the approach from “active” acoustics, which includes SONAR and other methods of emitting sounds and receiving the echoes to collect information about the environment. Passive acoustic approaches do not emit sounds, but simply receive the sounds from the environment.

Much information can be gained through passively gathered acoustic information from the coastal environment, including calls made by marine animals, physical vibrations of water and natural phenomena, and anthropogenic noise such as from motor boats.

We can practice “passive acoustics” ourselves without any special equipment, just by using our ears to listen. With the emphasis we place on sight, we often overlook what we learn about our surroundings through hearing. While you are visiting the coast, try paying special attention to the soundscape – you might be surprised at the range of sounds and information you can piece together.

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