During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson presents the second instalment of a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution
First released: 03/05/2019
Contrary to popular belief, and the writings of Jacques Cousteau, life under the ocean surface is not a silent world but a dense and rich sonic environment where sound plays a fundamental role to all known life.
The pioneering natural history sound recordist Chris Watson and the sound artist Jana Winderen meet a team from Norway’s Institute of Marine Research and board a research vessel setting sail around the Austevoll islands.
Like many countries, Norway benefits economically from oil and gas exploration and shipping, but the threat of ocean noise pollution and its potential to harm fish stocks has instigated trailblazing research into the impact of sound pollution, in this case on spawning cod. On a choppy North Sea, Watson and Winderen meet the scientists Nils Olav Handegard and Karen de Jong who, along with a team of international researchers, are using complex underwater recording techniques to try to capture the sound of reproducing cod.
As the sun sets, Watson and Winderen reflect on the relationship between scientists and artists, and ponder the role they can play in helping people understand and appreciate the underwater acoustic environment.
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