MaST Center Aquarium

Located in central Puget Sound between Tacoma and Seattle, this hydrophone location lets you hear sounds made by orcas, humpbacks, and other marine life -- including fish and seals. Bigg's killer whales transit this location year round, and Southern Resident killer whales often pass by, especially in the fall when Chum salmon run. You may also hear the commercial ships going to and from the Port of Tacoma, powerboats using the adjacent ramp, and even SCUBA divers enjoying Redondo Beach.

The MaST Center location is hosted and maintained by the Marine Science and Technology Center, part of Highline College. Hydrophones were first deployed here in summer 2023 at a depth of 2 meters (below MLLW). Especially during lower tides, you may notice the sound of falling water which is coming from the aquariums overhead. As of 2023, you can view live underwater video of the pilings to which the hydrophones are mounted.

Status update 10/18/2023: The live camera is now streaming and we plan to add the hydrophone audio to it. 9/29/23: Scott and Lon deploy a single repurposed Labcore40 hydrophone by hanging it over the side at a depth of ~1m. 7/5/23: initial deployment led by Cora Reese and Scott Veirs placed a new Aquarian A5 and old Labcore element near the base of the NW piling, but both failed within a month.

This node was funded in 2023 by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife through The Department of Ecology’s Equipment Grant program to improve location detection of Southern Resident Killer Whales and other marine mammals during oil spills (SPPREG-2123-WaSDFW-00025).


MaST Center Aquarium