National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


West Mata Volcano Eruption in 2010 South of Samoa

Monitoring a sea floor volcano eruption at West Mata (south of Samoa) in 2010

The Acoustics Program is an ocean sound research group that develops and provides acoustic tools, technologies, and services to address a wide variety of NOAA missions. Using autonomous stationary hydrophones, mobile platforms such as ocean gliders and floats equipped with acoustic sensors, and cabled observatories the Acoustics group studies both natural and anthropogenic sounds in the marine environment.

The vision of the program is to a) quantify ambient sound levels from man-made sources, such as commerce and energy production; b) monitor processes and potential hazards related to marine volcano seismic activity; and c) assess potential changes in the abundance and distribution of endangered marine mammal populations due to anthropogenic noise and climate-related changes in the environment.

This group of interdisciplinary researchers has deployed and operated acoustic monitoring systems in every major ocean basin on Earth and is currently developing novel systems to efficiently monitor large ocean areas and their living marine resources for extended time periods. The Acoustics group develops open-source and user-friendly ocean sound analysis software tools, which are used by several NOAA/NMFS laboratories in support of their research. The Acoustics Program, in close collaboration with the Earth-Ocean Interactions and EcoFOCI programs, studies the links between volcanic and hydrothermal processes at seamounts around the globe as well as the underwater soundscape in the Arctic.