How to eavesdrop on kelp | Science News

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How to eavesdrop on kelp

Listening to underwater forests could help monitor ocean health

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6:00am, July 6, 2017
kelp bed

HEAR THIS  Projected sound reverberating through a kelp bed can tell scientists about the ecosystem, a new analysis shows. The approach may lead to a cheap, efficient way to monitor the health of kelp forests.

BOSTON — If kelp growing in an underwater forest makes a sound, such noises could be used to keep tabs on ocean health.

Listening to how projected sound reverberates through kelp beds allows scientists to eavesdrop on environmental factors such as water temperature and photosynthetic activity, bioacoustician Jean-Pierre Hermand reported June 28 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

Kelp beds and forests, valuable ecosystems that house all sorts of marine life, may help buffer the effects of warmer and increasingly acidic waters (SN Online: 12/14/16). But such communities are also threatened by invasive species and aren’t immune to the effects of climate change, making monitoring kelp crucial, said Hermand, of the Université libre de Bruxelles

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