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Undersea acoustic recording

Undersea Acoustics

The marks on this figure are acoustic traces, the visual representations of underwater sounds recorded at sea sometime around 1960. Sounds such as these interfered with the U.S. Navy’s ability to detect enemy submarines—but at the time, the origin of these underwater noises was unknown. WHOI geophysicist John Brackett Hersey hired marine biologist Richard Backus to help figure out who or what was making them. During a dive in the submersible Alvin in 1967, Backus discovered their source: large schools of the common midwater lantern fish Ceratoscopelus maderensis. (Image courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives)


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