Gray seals are animals that live both on land and in water. They can make noises that travel through the air as well as those that are heard underwater. That’s why this area is very popular among researchers. An acoustician, Dr. Łukasz Nowak from the University of Twente in the Netherlands investigated how gray seals make sounds underwater. To transmit sound signals to each other, they have to change the vibrations of the air into those of their body. Tissues have mechanical properties similar to water, and it is from them that vibrations, and sounds, are transferred to the water. The body of the seal acts as an underwater speaker.
The researcher analyzed the sounds made by gray seals in the seal sanctuary at the sea station of the University of Gdańsk in Hel. He made all his recordings available in open data files.
“How seals make sounds may inspire us to build systems for underwater communication” – commented Dr. Łukasz Nowak.
Detailed research has been published in the journal “Bioacoustics”.