This spring, COSEE-TEK has taken the plunge into underwater acoustics with two educational institutes focusing on the engineering and application of low-cost hydrophones. Hydrophones have a number of applications in oceanography, including the study of marine mammal communication of anthropogenic noises in the environment (e.g., outboard engines, commercial vessels, SONAR, seismic air guns, etc.). One COSEE-TEK institute involved teachers from the American School for the Deaf (ASD); the other engaged University of Connecticut undergraduate biology and engineering students who are participating in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program in the hands-on building of a simple hydrophone. In order to provide an affordable, accessible, do-it-yourself (DIY) hydrophone kit, COSEE-TEK technicians made notable modifications to the original design by Kevin Hardy at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Details and a materials and price list for the COSEE-TEK model can be found here.
Teachers and students learned how to use the Praat freely downloadable software to record and visualize a variety of sounds using their hydrophones during a testing phase. Both groups then had the opportunity for real-world testing of hydrophones – the ASD teachers with belugas in the Arctic Coast exhibit at the Mystic Aquarium, and the LSAMP students aboard Project Oceanology’s R/V Envirolab II.
Click here for more information on COSEE-TEK’s Underwater Acoustics Teacher Technology Experience (TTE) with teachers from American School for the Deaf (ASD).
More details to come on our collaboration with UConn LSAMP undergraduates.