2013, A Fantastic Year!

We’re looking back at 2013 with a lot of gratitude for the opportunites that were presented to us and where we were able to take them. And none of this could have been done without your support.

With the sponsorship of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Gwynn created a fabulous Arctic Soundscapes exploration application for our “Don’t be a buckethead” website (also funded and co-developed by WWF). The sounds were provided by Chris Clark’s lab and the Macaulay Library at Cornell University and Gwynn came up with an engaging way of exploring them through audiographs.

The Arctic was on everybody’s sonar last year due to the three-ring circus of disasters that Shell provided. We are among many who feel that petroleum extraction in the Arctic is a lousy idea. Our focus is of course the bioacoustic environment. Arctic animals have adapted to what is often a dark environment with some pretty amazing sounds. Industrializing their habitat could not be a good thing, so one of our strategic efforts is to let folks know what is at stake with our “Arctic Soundscapes” program.



One element of this program we are advancing is a recreation of an Arctic Bioacoustic Habitat in an outdoor public setting. The project became a finalist in the “Blue Trail” competition that planned to place art/science installations along the San Francisco Embarcadero during the America’s Cup races. Unfortunately given the timeline and the scale of the various projects the Blue Trail program turned out to be a bit ambitious, but we have a lot of development under our belt and will be seeking another venue this coming year. Stay tuned!

It was an honor to be asked onto the advisory committee for the third annual internatrional “Effects of noise on aquatic life” conference which took place in Budapest in August. The conference itself was a huge success – bringing together most of the world specialists on marine bioacoustics to confer and deliberate. Much was accomplished in a span of five days, reestablishing the truism that while in-person conferences are both econoimically and environmentally expensive they are also really effective.

This year National Geographic Online carried a piece I wrote on the impacts of high frequency communication and technology signals on marine life – highlighting a concern we will be exploring this coming year. Increasingly the noises of communication and exploration technologies are intruding on ocean habitats. We really need to understand the impacts of this as soon as possible because “the horses are already getting out of the barn and will be hard to round up if they’re up to no good.”

There are a number of other projects in various stages of development which we hope to fund and complete, working in collaboration with others, or just our own staff. Among them are Tracking Whale Sharks off Panama, further developing our Kurtosis Metric, and driving our “Historic Noise Levels in the Ocean” paper to publication.

We feel that all of these projects will advance our understanding of the impacts of human generated noise on marine life and prove invaluable in informing policy and practice relating to this noisy engagement we are having with the sea.

None of this could be done without your help. For this we are also thankful.

Contribute to OCR
We really appreciate your support.

OCR is a fiscally sponsored project of The Ocean Foundation, a 510(c)(3) a public benefit organization, so your donations are tax-deductible.

If you’d rather mail in a contribution, send checks to:


P.O. Box 559
CA 94938

Happy New Year!