Florida Coastal Everglades LTER


Program/project name: The Sound of the River of Grass: Music, Sonification, and the Everglades LTER Site


[A full proposal has not yet been submitted.]

Brief description of program/project development and components:

The field of Acoustic Ecology was formally launched in the 1970s by Canadian composer Murray Schafer. In its interdisciplinary quest to increase awareness of the interactions among sound, humans, and the environment, the growing movement in soundscape composition has drawn many composers, sound designers, and musicologists to create and study sound art based on high-quality recordings of natural sound environments. Recent technological developments have enabled long-term acquisition of remote soundscapes, SDFSDF. The Sound of the River of Grass project comprises several composers, ecologists, and engineers who have created a small device—the gladesBox—capable of recording sound and environmental data on the order of a year. We are currently launching the device in the Florida Everglades with four goals: (1) sonifying environmental data and releasing year-long audio recordings; (2) launching a live Internet radio station in which sounds are streamed continually; (3) composing soundscape art based on the acquired recordings; and (4) contributing to the public’s understanding and appreciation of the unique FCE region.

Relationship with core science, education, cultural programs at the site:

The FCE site is a well established; research there has yielded many publications and community outreach programs. The FCE LTER group recently partnered with the University of Miami’s Music Engineering Laboratory (MuELab), where we have been working on the gladesBox project for over a year. The core technologies involved in the gladesBox (remote wireless sensing, real-time data reporting, mesh-sensor connectivity, etc.) address needs of some scientists at the site, and we are looking for ways to integrate our shared resources.

Everglades National Park currently has an artist-in-residency program in place, but it has awarded residencies to representational visual artists; much can be done to attract artists from a variety of disciplines working in more experimental idioms, particularly as contemporary experimental art frequently interfaces with science and technology in fundamental and compelling ways.

Funding:  FCE LTER is supported by the National Science Foundation. Additional internal support for the gladesBox project lapses this month. Additional funding will be sought this summer, particularly from the NSF REU Program.

Impediments: Need justification and forum to launch the concept within the HBEF and regional scientific and arts and humanities community.

Future expectations and hopes:  Establish a Center for Music and Ecology as a partnership between the FCE LTER, Florida International University, the University of Miami, Atala School for Creative Expression, and Everglades National Park.

Contact person(s): 

Colby Leider, Ph.D.

Director, Music Engineering Program

Associate Professor of Music

Frost School of Music

1314 Miller Drive

Coral Gables, FL 33124


MuE: Music + Engineering


Laura Ogden, PhD.


Associate Professor of Anthropology

Dept. of Global & Sociocultural Studies

Florida International University