Pikslo deep diving | underwater interception of the nordic sea

Pikslo deep diving underwater interception of the nordic sea / collaborative research

[slovenski tekst kmalu – stran je v nastajanju ⇊⇊]

Key words: sonification, sound pollution, underwater sound, underwater  noise  pollution, anthropogenic influence on the sea life, hydrophone, sonar, field recording, electromagnetic polution (internet cables in water), acoustic ecology, seafaring, animals, fish, jellyfish, nordic sea, DIY biologie, DIY chemistry, anthropocene, microplastic polution, interspecies empathy, embodiment, complex systems


Collaborative research project and workshop by Robertina Šebjanič (SI), Kat Austen (UK/DE), Slavko Glamočanin (SI), Gjino Šutić (CRO), Piksel team (main organiser) + workshop participants

+ associated partner / mentor of the DIY bio workshop by Cristian Delgado

Deep_diving_mentorsDeep_diving_open_lab_at_BIKS 01

Context & concept of the workshop / research:

When we look up to sky and look into the space and wonder about what is up there, we sometime forget, that there is a lot still also to explore on the planet we live. We know more about the space than we know about the world’s seas and oceans, especially about the sound perception underwater. People are not so aware of the vibrant underwater acoustic of sounds of the deepness of ocean, except for the crash of a wave against a land. Whales, shrimp, seals, dolphins, and a variety of other creatures of the deep live in a watery acoustical ­ sonic environment. The arrival of steamships and other human­made interventions into the ocean soundscape has contributed disturbing noise to this rich soundscape.

The workshop / project encourage an inter­relationship between sound, nature, and society, as a starting point for the rethinking of the possible developed of nicer sonic environments for the animals living in the world’s oceans and sea’s. The underwater sound pollution is the reality of recent development and industrialization reflecting on the sea. Especially the upper level of the seas ­ where there is most of the living in the seas and independent by the level of the sonic pollution in the sea. We would also try to research the deep sea level to understand what is happening there.

World seas and oceans are presenting more than 70% of surface of Earth. 97% of it is saltwater, 2% is fresh water in the form of ice and only the remaining 1% is drinking water, which is distributed around the planet very unevenly. The exploration of any ecosystem requires detailed study and observation. The ocean is the complex, challenging, and harsh environment on Earth and accessing it requires specially designed tools and technology. It has only been within the last 50 years that technology has advanced to the point that we can examine the ocean in a systematic, scientific, and non invasive way. Our ability to observe the ocean environment and its resident creatures has finally caught up with our imaginations and helping us to understand it also in the ways that we did not imagine them before.

“Already back at the renaissance 1490 Leonardo da Vinci observed how the sound of ships travelled long distances underwater. The sound of ships in the 15th century included the noise of rudders and rigging, oars and the handling of cargo. Seafaring, while not in its infancy, was a “life driven” technology; the power of wind and human muscle generated the only anthropogenic noises in the sea. Over the next 400 years, acoustic technology at sea involved innovations such as underwater bells and whistling buoys on submerged rocks and reefs to warn navigators and captains away from marine hazards. With the advent of steam powered engines, the quality and level of noise began to shift dramatically. With the ability to navigate to, and develop the far reaches of the globe, the use of dynamite and diesel driven pile drivers began transforming the soundscape of coastal waters worldwide. Once the mechanization of seafaring and coastal civil engineering took hold, ocean noise began increasing exponentially and it started to overtake also the sound scape environment of the animals” * (from the Soundscape The Journal of Acoustic Ecology​)


Workshop / project  During the 5 day work intense inter ­ disciplinary research of four main mentors and collaborators did open the process of the exploration of the context of DIY biology, DIY chemistry and sound. An DIY laboratory in the context of the Piksel festival was the main environment for the workshop.

We did spend time out on the field trips to the fjords and surroundings in Bergen, to collect needed data.

Introduction to research main topic’s:

underwater sound / noise polution

microplastic polution


Underwater sound / noise polution

Audio summary and visualization – Pikslo Deep Dive visualization

4 hydrophone recordings we made in the sea around Bergen, Norway on 21.11.2015.

We did made with workshop participants a bunch of DIY Hydrophones and went on filed trip with boath around the fjords of Bergen with them.

Visualized by Slavko Glamočanin with OpenGL in realtime.

(00:00) outside the harbour,

(00:42) a boat passing by on the same spot,

(01:19)  a secluded bay

(03:12) a point in the open

Audio recordings available here: https://www.freesound.org/people/slavko321/packs/18501/

Thanks to http://www.ultranoise.es/ aka Enrique Tomas ] for lending us the professional hydrophone (which we compared to our DIY  Hydrophones 🙂

GPS locations of the audio recordings and the audio recordings coming soon..

Some photos of a great field recording trip:

Fjords_deep_diving_filed_trip_04_ Fjord_hack_fiedl_trip_04 Deep_diving_field_trip_03 Fjords_boat_trip_deep_diving


Microplastic polution – DIY bio and DIY chemistry research


Algal Samples:

Ascophyllum nodosum – formally identified as Fucus vesiculosus, known by the common name bladder wrack or bladderwrack (bubbles)

Oarweed or Kelp (Laminaria digitata) (flat without bubbles)

Fucus serratus (second sample from outside the harbour)

Testing protocol: 1 g of each type of algae into test tubes, 4 iterations of each Stock solution of vanish – 40 g to 80 mL water Stock Iron Solution 3.75g Fe II sulphate, 4g Mexican lemon salt powder (lemon juice, citric acid, salt and sugar), 250 ml water (boiled)

To 1g of each seaweed in a small test tube add: Sample 1: 5ml Fe 5ml Percarbonate

Sample 2: 5ml Fe II aq stock 5ml Percarbonate 0.5 ml of Ajax all purpose cleaning gel

Sample 3: 5ml Fe 5ml Percarbonate 2ml Ajax

Sample 4: 5ml Fe 10 ml 3% hydrogen peroxide solution

Left standing for 10 minutes Heat to 80 degrees C then turn off heat and leave to stand.

Diy_microplastic_gjino_kat_01 Microplastic_reaserchAlgae_collage

Mareano programme, which records all instances of marine litter that the researchers find



This has little information on the region around Bergen
Methods for analysing microplastics: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/publications-files/noaa_microplastics_methods_manual.pdf

Destroying organic compounds (for microplastic analysis):


(hydrogen peroxide + Fe solution)

we are using Sodium percarbonate instead of hydrogen peroxide

Venish has 30% sodium peroxide + enzimes (protein & starch digestion – protease & amylase)

http://rbeuroinfo.com/ – Venish composition
Water lab analysis out of the harbour

Temperatire 14 deg C

767 x10

760 x10

pH 6.6


Collaborative reaserch project

authors, developers of the project: 

Robertina Šebjanič (SI),

Kat Austen (UK/DE),

Slavko Glamočanin (SI),

Gjino Šutić (CRO),

Production: Piksel festival, 2015



*listen also to Robertina Šebjanič Liquefying //  Underwater sound scape – remixed hydrophone recordings into new acoustic sonic wave.

see also Kat Austen –  Coral Empathy Device

Information from the DIY microplastic experimentation and conversations with researchers from Bergen’s Marine Institute, alongside sound recordings from the DIY hydrophone field trips, informed the design of a prototype Coral Empathy Device. The device obliterates the visual, employing sound, pressure, texture and smell to translate messages of anthropogenic marine intervention between the experience of coral in the Norwegian waters and the experience of humans on terra. Liquid to air, coral to human, the Coral Empathy Device prototype is an experiment in interspecies empathy.




Some of references and interesting readings:


The sounds produced by marine animals are many and varied. Marine mammals, such as blue whales and harbor porpoise, produce sounds over a wide frequency range, from less than 10 Hz to over 100,000 Hz, depending on the species of marine mammal. Many fish, such as the oyster toadfish and plainfin midshipman, and some marine invertebrates, such as snapping shrimp, also produce sounds. Marine animals use sound to obtain detailed information about their surroundings. They rely on sound to communicate, navigate, and feed. Marine mammals, such as dolphins, use sound to locate and identify objects such as food, obstacles, and other whales. By emitting clicks, or short pulses of sound, and listening to the echo, dolphins can detect individual prey and navigate around objects  underwater.” ….  http://www.dosits.org/science/soundsinthesea/commonsounds/

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048

That’s when the world’s oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, — with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama — was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world. The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/salt-water-fish-extinction-seen-by-2048/

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ New research finds there is a distinct sound coming from a massive community of fish, shrimp, jellies and squid as they travel up and down from the depths of the ocean to the water’s surface to feed. This sound could be serving as a “dinner bell” for these deep-water organisms that play a key role in ocean food webs and the global carbon cycle, and could help scientists better understand this mysterious ecosystem ….. ” https://news.agu.org/press-release/new-research-reveals-sound-of-deep-water-animal-migration/

Cnidaria ­ jellyfish hearing under the water

….”At present there is still a dearth of research and understanding about how Cnidaria—with their ancient evolutionary history— actually perceive and adapt to their environment through acoustic energy and vibration, and how this has enabled them to survive over the eons despite their ‘simplicity.’ Marine mammal calls can actually increase ambient noise levels by 20­25 underwater dB in some locations at certain times of year. Blue and fin whales produce low­ frequency moans at frequencies of 10­25 Hz with estimated source levels of up to 190 underwater dB at 1 m. The ambient noise levels at frequencies of 17­20 Hz increase off coastal California during the fall and winter months due to blue and fin whale calls.” …  from the Soundscape The Journal of Acoustic Ecology http://wfae.proscenia.net/journal/scape_6.pdf

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Animal Sound Perception and Production Modes

“From the preceding it is clear that many sea animals use sound in a variety of ways. Some animals use sound passively, others actively. Passive use of sound occurs when the animal does not create the sound that it senses, but responds to environmental and ambient sounds. These uses include: 1. Detection of predators. 2. Location and detection of prey. 3. Proximity perception of co­species in school, raft or colony. 4. Navigation—either local or global. 5. Perception of changing environmental conditions such as seismic movement, tides and currents. 6. Detection of food sources and feeding of other animals. 7. “Acoustic illumination” akin to daylight vision. Active use of sound occurs when the animal creates a sound to interact with their environment or other animals in it. Active uses include: 1. Sonic communication with co­species for breeding. 2. Sonic communication with co­species for feeding, including notification and guidance of others to food sources. 3. Territorial and social relations. 4. Echolocation. 5. Stunning and apprehending prey. 6. Alarm calls used to notify other creatures of the approach of enemies. 7. Long distance navigation and mapping. 8. Use of sound as a defense against predators. 9. Use of sound when seized by a predator (perhaps to startle the predator).”  http://wfae.proscenia.net/journal/scape_6.pdf

Arctic Hydroacoustics by H KUTSCHALEI

“Underwater sound are the permanent ice cover and the velocity structure in the water. … Sounds are transmitted to great ranges in this natural arctic waveguide.” http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic22-3-246.pdf

Underwater Sound Propagation in the Arctic Ocean by H. W. Marsh and R. H. Mellen

“Some results of a four‐year experimental study of sound propagation in the Arctic are presented and interpreted. The duration, form, and intensity of waves received at distances up to 1400 km are explained using ray theory and modes, in which source characteristics, refraction, scattering at the ice surface, and bottom effects are important.” http://scitation.aip.org/content/asa/journal/jasa/35/4/10.1121/1.1918531

308 million year old tropical forest in the arctic

A recent study published in the journal Geology shared some surprising findings: the icy landscape of Svalbard, Norway was once home to an ancient tropical forest. A group of researchers from Cardiff University found fossilized tree stumps belonging to lycopsids, a tropical tree, during the course of field work in the area. http://inhabitat.com/scientists-discover-308-million-year-old-tropical-forest-in-the-arctic/
Video of plankton eating plastic http://grist.org/list/this-beautiful-video-of-plankton-eating-plastic-is-also-a-little-disturbing/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

Killer whales make waves to hunt seals

A BBC film crew has captured footage of killer whales working together to create waves to wash their vulnerable prey into the water. The predators targeted a weddell seal that was resting on a small ice floe, sweeping it off the ice to where they could attack it. Scientists who worked with the film crew said the footage revealed new insights into killer whale ecology. The team filmed the sequence for the BBC documentary Frozen Planet http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/15308790

Underwater Sound in the Arctic Ocean (reaserch from 1965) http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/718140.pdf


Acoustics and Sonar Information Resources http://www.aticourses.com/acoustics.htm


How to make a DIY  Hydrophone (stereo) http://www.freesound.org/forum/production-techniques-music-gear-tips-and-tricks/2631/?page=1#post13253