6 episodes

At the edge of the ocean, all of our senses are engaged—the breeze on our skin, the scent of rotting seaweed, the sparkle of light on the waves. But dive in and things change. In shallow, coastal waters, water is often murky, even opaque. And the deeper you dive, the darker it becomes. It’s probably no surprise then, that for ocean animals, hearing is paramount. And it’s not just so for singing humpback whales. Invertebrates, octopuses, fish, and more all rely on sound to communicate and navigate, to find each other, or to swim the other way.

Hakai Magazine invites you to join us and listen in under the waves. Discover some of the extraordinary soundscapes scientists are recording, the surprising ways that animals talk and listen, and how the unexpected patches of quiet triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is driving a new commitment to hushing anthropogenic ocean noise.

The Sound Aquatic Hakai Magazine

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

At the edge of the ocean, all of our senses are engaged—the breeze on our skin, the scent of rotting seaweed, the sparkle of light on the waves. But dive in and things change. In shallow, coastal waters, water is often murky, even opaque. And the deeper you dive, the darker it becomes. It’s probably no surprise then, that for ocean animals, hearing is paramount. And it’s not just so for singing humpback whales. Invertebrates, octopuses, fish, and more all rely on sound to communicate and navigate, to find each other, or to swim the other way.

Hakai Magazine invites you to join us and listen in under the waves. Discover some of the extraordinary soundscapes scientists are recording, the surprising ways that animals talk and listen, and how the unexpected patches of quiet triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is driving a new commitment to hushing anthropogenic ocean noise.

    Episode 5: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    Episode 5: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

    The anthropause has shown us that we’re too noisy for the ocean’s animals.


    By now, we know the ocean is anything but silent. Fish grunt, whales moan, reefs roar with the deafening sound of snapping shrimp, and even natural sounds like waves and rain can be heard throughout the ocean. But people have taken it to the next (decibel) level, with global shipping, oil and gas rigs and exploration, sonar, and fishing and recreational boats. Can we learn to be good neighbors and turn the noise down? On this final episode of The Sound Aquatic, we try to find out.


    Find show notes and a transcript at hakaimagazine.com/the-sound-aquatic.

    • 26 min
    Episode 4: Learning to Speak Whale

    Episode 4: Learning to Speak Whale

    Whale clans teach and transmit culture using their own unique dialects.


    “Culture” is a tricky thing to define—anthropologists still don’t totally agree what comes under its umbrella. But by any measure, it’s getting clearer and clearer that humans aren’t the only ones who have it. And below the waves you’ll find some of the most famous and mysterious nonhuman cultures of all.


    Find show notes and a transcript at hakaimagazine.com/the-sound-aquatic.

    • 30 min
    Episode 3: Plenty of Fish

    Episode 3: Plenty of Fish

    Swiping right in the deep blue sea.


    Ah, l’amour. Finding a mate is a big part of life for all animals and those beneath the waves are no exception. Of course, this search for love often involves—you guessed it—sounds. From the booming grunt of a fish trying to lure a lucky lady to his lair, to the mournful moan of a whale, sending out deep, loud sounds across ocean basins to potential mates from far, far away, this episode of The Sound Aquatic listens in on love beneath the waves.

    Find show notes and a transcript at hakaimagazine.com/the-sound-aquatic.

    • 26 min
    Episode 2: How Not to Get Lost in the Ocean

    Episode 2: How Not to Get Lost in the Ocean

    Marine animals that navigate through whispers, songs, grunts, or clicks.


    Sound travels far underwater. And it travels fast, too—about four and a half times faster than it does through air. So it’s no wonder animals use sound to find their way around. Imagine being able to “see” your way through pitch black depths just by listening to the waves, other creatures, or even ambient noise, such as mudslides; or being able to make clicks and use their echoes to build a picture of the space around you.


    In this episode, we look at how marine animals from whales to fish (and even tiny fish larvae) use sound to navigate their world, using it for everything from finding a good place to call home to the next bite to eat.

    Find show notes and a transcript at hakaimagazine.com/the-sound-aquatic.

    • 25 min
    Episode 1: Can You Hear Me Now?

    Episode 1: Can You Hear Me Now?

    Eavesdropping on marine motormouths during the world’s most expensive experiment.


    When Elin Kelsey and the producers of The Sound Aquatic podcast first gathered in early 2020 to create a podcast about ocean sounds, they had no idea what an amazingly unique year 2020 would be for anyone listening in on the ocean.


    In this episode, Elin takes a deep dive into the wonderful world of fish sounds and finds out what makes the Anthropause—as some experts are calling it—the world’s most expensive experiment.

    Find show notes and a transcript at hakaimagazine.com/the-sound-aquatic.

    • 22 min
    The Sound Aquatic - Trailer

    The Sound Aquatic - Trailer

    Can shrimp talk by snapping? What does a healthy reef sound like? How do whales avoid inbreeding? Did fish grunts really set off bombs during the Second World War?



    At Hakai Magazine, we’ve got you covered with all your ocean sound queries in our new podcast The Sound Aquatic.

    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Yelaheener ,

Beautiful, Relevant, Informative!

What an interesting topic to cover, the sounds of the seas, during the anthropause. I feel like I learned quite a lot and finally have some hope for our oceans!

Z-Strix ,

Refreshing and informative podcast

This is such an interesting idea for a podcast series. I hope you all at Hakai come out with more audio programming! Great work!

Gjfhfgdxdfggdff ,

What a timely topic

We will not save the climate without the oceans. They are the carbon dioxide sink(s) of the planet.

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