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  The Discovery of Sound in the Sea Project: Twenty Years of Success in Synthesizing Science for Nonexperts
Gail Scowcroft
   In November 2021, the Discovery of Sound in the Sea (DOSITS; see project celebrated its 20th anniversary and will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the project website in 2022. Over the past 20 years, the DOSITS team has published a number of articles in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (POMA), Acoustics Today, and other publications that share information about the project and resources on the website (Vigness Raposa and Scowcroft, 2008; Vigness Raposa et al., 2012, 2017; Scowcroft and Vigness-Raposa, 2014; Scowcroft, 2016). The purpose of this essay is to share a bit of the project’s history that has not been previously shared.
Over the past 20 years, the DOSITS project has evolved from a simple site that contained approximately 100 pages and a few dozen articles to a unique resource with over 450 pages and a diversity of resources that include, among others, structured tutorials (see, edu- cational activities (see, and archived webinars (see Traffic on the DOSITS website has grown from having 10,000 views in its first full year to having over one million page views in 2020, and the number of site users continues to grow. Moreover, DOSITS is now used by people from countries all over the world.
The DOSITS website has become the “go-to” site for under- standable and authoritative information about all aspects of underwater sound, from the basic physics of sound to the use of sound by aquatic animals to the effects of anthropogenic sound on these animals (and on the acous- tics associated with these sources). Moreover, over time, DOSITS has evolved to serve an amazingly broad com- munity from K-12 students to scientists wanting to learn more about particular topics to regulators, members of environmental groups, and industry personnel. Those
involved with the production of DOSITS content and resources have worked to ensure the scientific integrity of these materials, thereby ensuring that users are getting up-to-date peer-reviewed science.
Origin and Evolution of DOSITS
In 2001, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and edu- cation professionals began DOSITS. The project was initially intended to address the need for educating the public about underwater acoustics and related research. This need had been exemplified by public resistance to the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) experiments off Hawai'i, which were using sound under- water to study ocean temperature changes. The ATOC program’s early goal was to measure average tempera- tures in the North Pacific Ocean along a number of paths. Acoustic sources off central California and north of Kauai, Hawai'i, transmitted sound to US Navy receiv- ers, providing a network of acoustic paths. This allowed the scientists to observe large-scale seasonal changes in ocean temperature. The scientists believed that if the transmissions continued for many years, large-scale cli- mate change in the ocean could be measured. There was some public opposition to this research because people believed that the underwater ATOC sound source would harm humpback whales in the vicinity. However, research at the time had shown that it was unlikely that the sound source, operating at approximately 195 dB, would harm the whales (Mobley et al., 1988; Au et al., 1997; Frankel and Clark, 1998).
In response to the need for providing the public with accurate scientific information in nonexpert language, Peter Worcester of the Scripps Institution of Oceanogra- phy, La Jolla, California (one of the ATOC project’s lead scientists) approached his colleague Kathleen Vigness- Raposa (then with Marine Acoustics, Inc., Middletown,
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    78 Acoustics Today • Winter 2021 | Volume 17, issue 4

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