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Acoustics Today

This quarterly magazine contains tutorials, technical articles, ASA news, and more. The pieces in the magazine are aimed at people with a general background in acoustics, but might not be versed in the particular featured subject. Read past issues here.

Lay Language Papers

Lay language papers are short versions of papers and talks presented at Annual Meetings of the Acoustical Society of America. Please keep in mind that some of the research described in the lay papers may not have yet been peer reviewed. See all papers here.

The Acoustic Features of the Long-Distance Advertisement Call Produced by the Amur (Siberian) Tiger

One serious extinction pressure among many facing the tiger today is the ever advancing encroachment of humans into tiger territories. The sounds of industrialization that necessarily accompany encroachment almost certainly raise the fraction of anthropogenic noise being injected into the home ranges of tigers, diminishing their capacity to communicate vocally, and adding to the escalating threat to the big cats’ long-term odds for survival.

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Listening to Antarctic Ice Breaking from Australia

An analysis of 7-year long recordings of sea noise made at the CTBT underwater station off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia has shown that Antarctica is the major source of low-frequency noise in the Southern Ocean and southern parts of the Indian Ocean. Two different kinds of signals arriving at the Cape Leeuwin station from Eastern Antarctica can generally be distinguished. The most amazing of them are iceberg songs, which are very-low-frequency, from about 3 Hz to 10 Hz multi-harmonic signals lasting sometimes for several hours and which are supposed to be produced by vibrations of the iceberg plate after collision with the seafloor, ice shelf or another iceberg.

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Termite Head-Banging: Sounding the Alarm

When the Formosan subterranean termite (FST) (Coptotermes formosanus) and the native subterranean termite (RF) (Reticulitermes flavipes) detect a potential breach, the soldiers will usually bang their heads apparently to attract other soldiers for defense and to recruit additional workers to repair any breach.

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Voice Recognition in Frogs

Research on animal behavior, mostly in birds and mammals, indicates that other animals can also learn to recognize each other by their unique visual appearance and their individually distinct voices. This ability is known as social recognition and for many animals it involves cognitive processes: animals usually must learn about and remember the distinctive characteristics that distinguish among different individuals. One of the best-studied forms of social recognition in animals is voice recognition. Unfortunately, however, we still know little about how voice recognition occurs in animals and how it evolves over time. In this paper, I outline why frogs and toads may help us to answer both of these questions.

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A Sonar Experiment to Study Sound Propagation through Flames

Our initial goal is to locate an open doorway or hallway through flames and smoke within a burning building, but even this simple goal could greatly enhance a firefighters ability to navigate through a burning building and out of danger. From a more fundamental physical acoustics perspective, we are interested in understanding how fire, heat and smoke between the device and a target effect acoustic propagation.

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