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The ocean can be a very noisy place full of sounds from a variety of physical, natural, and anthropogenic sources.

Physical processes that generate underwater background noise include rain, breaking waves, cracking sea ice, undersea earthquakes, and undersea volcanic eruptions.

Marine life also produces a variety of underwater noise over a wide frequency range as different species create and use sound to communicate with each other, find prey, avoid predators, locate mates and offspring, and guide their navigation around their habitats.

Similarly, humans create a variety of different underwater sounds and noise from offshore activities including maritime shipping, defense training and testing activities, research and exploration, fishing, offshore coastal construction, and more.

Click any of the pictures below to explore the various types of sound heard in the ocean. Researchers collect sound data from all of these sources to help study marine mammal behaviors and the ecosystems that they inhabit.