IQOE will use a variety of approaches to implement the project, including working groups. Some of these groups were identified within the IQOE Science Plan, whereas others were developed at the first meeting of the IQOE Science Committee. The following working groups have been formed:
IQOE Working Groups
Several types of ocean environments have high biodiversity, such as coral and deep-water reefs, mangrove forests, and kelp forests. These areas are important to human society and for functioning of ocean ecosystems, but are endangered by local, regional, and global changes. Assessment of the biodiversity of ocean areas is hindered by the requirement for frequent observations by human divers. However, many organisms in these areas make sounds that can be measured continuously. This working group aims to develop the potential to monitor sound high-diversity ocean areas continuously to help characterize and understand biodiversity.
The Arctic Ocean remains relatively pristine acoustically. However, the warming and decrease in ice cover across its basins will change its acoustic properties. Meanwhile, oil and gas exploration, shipping, tourism, and other noise-producing activities may increase. This working group aims to produce an acoustic baseline against which future sound increases can be compared.
A goal of the IQOE is to create time series of acoustic data in key locations of the global ocean to document how sound in the ocean has changed over time. The IQOE aims to notably increase the openly available and easily accessible acoustic observations and related biological and experimental results. This working group will develop data management and data access policies for scientists and data centers involved in the program.
Observations and experiments related to sound production and sensing by marine organisms use a variety of methods and measures, making it difficult to compare results from different locations. This working group has been developed to make bioacoustic measurements more comparable.
IQOE was given responsibility for the Ocean Sound Essential Ocean Variable (EOV) by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), after proposing this EOV. Each GOOS EOV works through a process that starts with approval of specifications for the EOV, followed by creation of an implementation plan. IQOE is in the process of forming a committee to create the implementation plan. The committee will work remotely, potentially holding a virtual workshop.
This working group of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) implemented specific elements of the IQOE Science Plan related to capabilities of POGO member institutions. This working group (1) led an effort to create an Essential Ocean Variable (EOV) related to sound, for use by the Global Ocean Observing System; and (2) revised the list of passive acoustic observing assets first presented in Appendix 2 of the IQOE Science Plan and made this updatable online.
Standardization of experimental protocols and observational techniques and calibration of instrumentation (such as acoustic recorders) enable comparison of results. This working group will recommend best practices for experiments, observation, reporting, and other means to ensure that results are comparable and can be integrated to standardize data across large spatial and long time scales.
An IQOE-sponsored workshop held in December 2021 recommended that IQOE develop the idea of low-cost hydrophones for research, education, and citizen science, distinct from more expensive calibratable hydrophones that are needed for observations as part of the Global Ocean Observing System.