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Steve Simpson

Associate Professor in Marine Biology & Global Change


Steve is a marine biologist who combines tropical research and expeditions to remote locations with local fieldwork in Devon. Much of Steve’s work focuses on underwater acoustics, including the use of sound by fish and invertebrates, and impacts of human noise on marine life. Steve was a Series Academic Advisor for Blue Planet II, and his underwater puppetry featured in the final episode in a sequence on underwater noise.


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Underwater Sound in Blue Planet II

Time: 25 January | 6.15 - 7.15pm

Location: Exeter Phoenix, Gandy St, Exeter EX4 3LS


Join us for an underwater acoustic adventure with Blue Planet II scientist Steve Simpson. A far cry from Jacques Cousteau’s Silent World, in reality the ocean is a remarkably noisy place, with whales, dolphins, fish and invertebrates all producing sound to communicate. These sounds range from the haunting song of the humpback whale song to the explosive clicks of snapping shrimp, and are important for social interactions, courtship, predator avoidance and locating and selecting habitat, especially at night. But since the Industrial Revolution we have been adding a whole raft of noises to the ocean, including shipping, motorboats, offshore construction, oil and gas prospecting and naval sonar.



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In this talk Steve will explain how he has pioneered new ways of listening to the ocean and of interacting with fish (including underwater puppetry), to understand whole soundscapes and to unlock the language of fish. He will also discuss his engagement with key marine industries, aiming to reduce and manage human noise pollution in the quest for quieter seas. Steve’s research was featured in David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef series in 2015, and his work on underwater noise pollution recently screened in the final Episode of Blue Planet II last month.

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