Wild Sights and Sounds

Members: Turtleman, SquidySpongeboy, Spoderman

General areas of interest:
Animals, How we see, Optical Illusions, Sound travelling

Specific areas of interest:
How do we see?  What are the parts of the Eye?  Animals use their senses underwater. Lots of different animals can see and hear underwater better than on land but we can’t. These include animals like turtles, sharks, and maybe hippos?
Here are some links to interesting facts about how these animals hear underwater.

HUMANS:  HealthDay: Underwater Humans Hear through their Bones

TURTLES: Superfins: Do Turtles Habe Ears and Superfins: Do Turtles have good Eyesight
Do Turtles have Sensitive Hearing?

SHARKS:  HowStuffWorks: Shark Senses: Hearing

To be able to compare how underwater mammals and fish see differently from us, we decided to study the eye.  We were able to learn more through dissecting a sheep eye.  Below are the steps we took to learn about how we see.

Learning the parts of the Eye:
Exploritorium: Cow’s Eye

Experimenting with the Lens:
Here we are learning about lenses and experimenting with a magnifying lens to demonstrate that you can bend light to make an inverted image of the world.

The surface of this lens is curved.Do you see what happened to the candle?
Discussing Topics to ExploreFaceTime: Checking in with Matt.First Dissection
Good TopicsFacetimeJullian
Dissection 1Dissection 2Dissection 3
Kia - eyeLadyavian

Next Matthew suggested that we look into the Physics of  light and sound because we observed sound and light travels differently in air and water

Question development:

  1. Are sounds louder in air or water?
  2. Do optical illusions work underwater?

Hearing test to use underwater and on land:


If we play high pitch and low pitch sounds above and below the water, we think that we will be able to detect the sounds better underwater.  We have research and found that sound travels better underwater because water is more dense than air.

Planning our Underwater Experiments


  1. Listen to the same noises under water and determine:
    1. frequency range you hear under water vs. in air
  2. View and photographs of illusions in air and in water
    1. Impossible Triangle
    2. Dot Illusion


Mr. Krabs searching for treasure.The 3 Musketeers!Here We Come!Underwater fun at the Pool!
Dots UnderwaterImpossible Triangle
All the the dots looked larger but the illusion looked the same as the one above the water.The impossible triangle had the same illusion...it looked like the triangle never ended. The only difference underwater was that it was enlarged.
In the AirUnder Water
Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 9.22.34 AMScreen Shot 2017-05-04 at 9.24.15 AM
In the Air the Dolphin Chatter was much quieter. The height of sound waves (amplitude) recorded were much lower.Under Water the Dolphin Chatter was much louder. The height of sound waves (amplitude) recorded were much higher.
In AirUnder Water
Sound Test In AirSound Test under Water
raw dataScreen Shot 2017-05-16 at 7.05.42 PM
max audioMin audio
We could identify higher frequencies (high pitch sound) better underwater than above water.We could identify lower frequencies (low pitch sound) better underwater than above water.


Our results support our hypothesis.  When we listen to high and low pitch sounds under water we were able to detect the sounds better under water.

Further Studies:

We are interested in finding out whether animals detect or identify sound underwater.  We know that hippos rely on detecting  (or perhaps identifying) other male hippos in rivers.  They have the ability  to hear above and below the water.  This means if another hippo is approaching their territory (part of the river) they can warn them that it is their territory and to leave.  This avoids conflicts that may lead to death.  Scientist have discovered that when the river is low or dried up more conflicts between male hippos.

Another area we are interested in is how do animals use echolocation underwater?  Experimenting using “sonar” underwater would also be an interesting area of study.


Consider the difference between the words “identify” sounds vs. “detect” sounds. Do you think in your hypothesis and your conclusion that you may want to choose a different word than identify? If so explain why and what that might means for animals underwater. If you would like to chat about this I would be happy to facetime in your last few weeks of class!