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Hydrophones

Underwater Observatory Hydrophones

In the waters just outside the Underwater Observatory an underwater microphone called a hydrophone is located to capture the sounds of the ocean.

The hydrophone was donated to the Busselton Jetty by the Submarine Sensor Sciences Group at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. The captured sound is directed both into the Underwater Observatory and also onto the website where users can listen to live sound using their internet connection. A loud popping and crackling is the most obvious sound captured. This sound is made by a tiny shrimp called a Snapping Shrimp. The species under the jetty is less than 3cm long, but has a claw which can be half the size of the shrimp’s body – and it is this claw that, as it closes, projects a jet of water which forms a high pressure bubble that upon imploding creates a loud snapping sound. And if you’ve ever snorkelled beneath the jetty you would already be familiar with this sound. Gurgles of wave action against the piles and small boats around the jetty at some distance away can also be heard over the hydrophones.

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