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Listening to Coastal Futures


Listening is a form of inquiry that can immerse hearers in a living environment and connect people across boundaries. Scroll down to the Soundstage to discover different ways we are listening to the changing shore of this biosphere.




Soundscapes of Restoration advances projects in sonification and soundscape ecology that intersect with current environmental and social science research at the Virginia Coast Reserve. In particular, this project looks at several restoration and conservation projects running in parallel with the scientific research.  For more information, click here. 

Sounds of Erosion & Barrier Island Migration

Waves On Shore Gravel

Sea Grasses

Seagrass Sonification
Seagrasses- July South Bay

Oyster Reefs

Oysters- Long Term Underwater Field Recording

Nesting Bird Migration

Barrier Islands Birds Soundscape


The Virginia Coast Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere and the Conservatory’s Long Term Field Recording (LTFR) method can provide a valuable resource for those studying long term change at the Virginia Shores through sound. Our LTFR soundscape project uses sound to offer a comparative analysis between transition zones and core zones that offer habitat for the fragile biodiversity of the region under stress from global warming. For more information, click here. 

Ghost Forest

Ghost Forest

Crab Flutes

Crab Flutes Field Recording

Barrier Island Soundscape

Cobb Island- Barrier Island Soundscape

Human/Nature Interaction

US-13 Roadside Soundscape
Boat Launch
Hydrophone Recording- Underwater Boat Launch


Long Term Field Recording (LTFR) is a method for ecological sound recording as a part of long term ecological research (LTER) at the Coastal Futures Conservatory and Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR). Three approaches work together to offer a sonic profile of the evolving Virginia coast during these most precipitous times of rapid global warming. 

(perpetual broadcast of oyster reef site)


Oyster Reef Restoration Streambox

Sea Turtles
(seagrass recorders)


South Bay Seagrasses

Water Bears
(underwater long term recording)


4pm Oyster Reef
2am Oyster Reef

Sand Bears
(land-based long term recorders)


Cobb Island- Barrier Island Soundscape


Sonification: Listening to Science

Sonification is the technique of converting non-audio data into sound. The technique allows us to listen to environmental changes that don’t make sound, or that happen over such long periods of time that we wouldn’t be able to comprehend the change. For example, we might sonify the migration of barrier islands, sea level rise, ocean acidification, or the chemistry, temperature or light of different processes in the environment. Like visualization, these sonic mappings of data help us understand what science is revealing. 

Seagrass Sonifications

Seagrass Carbon & Nitrogen Sonification
Seagrass Respiration Sonification
Dreams Of Seagrasses- Matthew Burtner

Dune Erosion

Hannah Martin-Dune Erosion Sonification

Keeling Curve

Anthony Murphy-Neilson- Keeling Curve Sonification

Barrier Island Water Quality Sonification

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