20,000 Sounds under the Sea is a project of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya's Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB) that aims to study ocean sounds. The study is carried out on board the Swiss ship Fleur de Passion, which is sailing around the world in four years with the aim of measuring human impact on oceans and contributing to the debate surrounding the role of humankind at sea. The Ocean Mapping Expedition, was launched on April 12 from Sevilla, Spain. It is being organized in the framework of the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan's voyage exploring new sea routes in the Pacific and will last until spring 2019. Fleur de Passion has just left Chile (Valdivia) last Sunday.
"For the first time, a ship is permanently equipped with the latest sensor technology, which is allowing us to map ocean noise on a scale never seen before," says Michel André, director of the UPC's Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics. The hydrophone system of 20,000 Sounds under the Sea detects and automatically classifies all sounds of natural or human origin along the route the Fleur de Passion sailing ship takes around the world. The system is supplying real-time sounds and images taken with onboard underwater cameras to researchers at the LAB, which is linked to the Vilanova i la Geltrú School of Engineering (EPSEVG) and is located on the Vilanova UPC campus. The images and sounds that are recorded are uploaded directly to the website of the Expedition and is publicly available.
On Tuesday April 12, a press conference was held at the "Bains des Paquis" in Geneva to celebrate the first year of the expedition and give an overview of its first results.