Silence4AquaLife

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Over the past decades, environmental sciences and media have put increasing focus on <em>visible</em> water pollution. We typically show emotional reactions to images depicting tons of rubbish flowing around in the oceans or whales who have parts of cars in their bodies.

However, what receives particularly little attention is <em>noise</em> pollution. Just recently, a conference on the <a href="http://an2016.org/">the effects of noise on aquatic life</a> has come into place trying to address this problem. Today, these are still not sufficiently understood, but scientists assume that anthropogenic noise is responsible to a large degree for whale strandings, deaths and mis-navigations of other animals as well all over the world. This noise comes especially from large ships, but also low frequency sonar used for underwater communication (e.g. with submarines). There are also studies showing similar effects on inland waters (<cite>The impacts of power boating and water skiing on lakes and reservoirs, Mosisch and Arthington, 1998</cite>).

Our project has two parts. First, we want to raise awareness about the issue of noise pollution of water. Second, we want to combine this idea with the re-use of old smartphones. Today, smartphones are thrown away often prior to their actual end of life for various reasons. Thus, the idea is to use a smartphone, put it into some waterproof bag/storage and record. Just recently, <a href="http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/wireless-solar-charging-made-e...">wireless solar charging has received another push into the right direction</a>. I could imagine an apparatus that puts this into a kind of floating device that is always attracted to the top. It would of course need to be tested to which extent this goes together with water. Another issue is wireless communication through water, even if it is just a few metres or centimetres. You usually would need very low frequencies, which in turn is one potential harm factor as outlined above. For these reasons, a prototype would for now be comprised of a GoPro transmitting the data via cable. Permanent installations are an idea to follow up in the future. Furthermore, the project will be restricted to inland waters, just because permanent installations in oceans are probably not realistic. However, it can be expected that findings could be transferred. Hence, the idea is to go to Lake Geneva (and maybe another) to do some recordings, compare them, visualise them. In the future, those data could be used to explore connections between high levels of noise and non-typical animal behaviour, change chemical compositions or other effects. Besides the field work, a basic web interface will be set up allowing the user to get an overview of already installed experiments on-site at lakes (maybe using open street maps or google maps). Tags could be color-coded based on the level of noise pollution. Additionally, the user would have the chance to retrieve additional information (like e.g. time lapse recordings or the audio itself to experience the noise on his/her own).

So, if you want to dive into still fairly unknown waters, sorry for the bad pun ;), you are very welcome!

PS: There are several categories applying to this topic, so I am just randomly choosing Education ^^

https://github.com/deivid321/Silence4AquaLife-spring

 

Category: 
Education
Contacts: 

Felix Scheffler: felix.scheffler@cern.ch

Deivydas Voroneckis: deivydas.voroneckis@cern.ch

Janis Erdmanis: graphitewriter@gmail.com

Skills Being Sought: 

Web programming (basically what you need to build what I described :)). The more know-how, the less I need to learn from scratch by myself over the weekend ;)

Data visualisation

A good sense of enthusiasm and love for nature!

Weekend Goals: 

Get an idea about the quality of recordings with non-professional equipment (Do we need software for further enhancement? Practicability in general?, ...)

A basic web interface will be set up allowing the user to get an overview of already installed experiments on-site at lakes (maybe using open street maps or google maps). Tags could be color-coded based on the level of noise pollution. Additionally, the user would have the chance to retrieve additional information (like e.g. time lapse recordings or the audio itself to experience the noise on his/her own).

References and Background Material: 

See above and THE OMNIPRESENT INTERNET

Prerequisites: 
Change for coffee
Express your Interest to work on this Idea !!

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