Interdisciplinary approaches to freshwater ecoacoustics

Barclay ( Leah Barclay )
Gifford ( Toby Gifford )
Linke ( Simon Linke )
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Freshwater Science, United States 
Freshwater ecoacoustics is an emerging field that involves underwater audio recordings to detect the presence, location, and density of species in noninvasive and unbiased ways. Conducted long-term, ecoacoustics provides information on biophysical changes and environmental patterns that can advance freshwater conservation. River Listening is an interdisciplinary research project exploring the possibilities of freshwater ecoacoustics in the conservation and management of global river systems. The project works at the intersection of art and science by investigating the cultural and biological diversity of freshwater ecosystems through real-time listening and underwater recording used for biodiversity monitoring and public engagement. We use noninvasive recording techniques with accessible hydrophone kits and participatory workshops to engage local communities in the process and outcomes. The resulting database of hydrophone recordings is used for ongoing scientific research and diverse creative projects disseminated worldwide. The artistic outcomes from River Listening are central to our public engagement efforts, which include mobile phone applications with soundscapes triggered by GPS along rivers as well as live-streaming hydrophone arrays. These artistic projects have assisted in the advancement of scientific recording techniques and ecoacoustic methods. In this article, we introduce the foundations of River Listening and acknowledge a series of artists who have pioneered the use of hydrophone recording for both scientific and artistic purposes. The integration of art and science is further explored through a case study of our workshops and sound walks that have become the core public engagement tool for River Listening. We argue that interdisciplinary approaches are critical to the emerging field of freshwater ecoacoustics and call for further collaborations between artists, scientists, and communities to record and share the soundscapes of freshwater ecosystems. 
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