Research Directions

The Scripps Acoustic Ecology Laboratory investigates phenological patterns and spatial ecology of cetaceans, interactions of predators and their prey, and adaptations of animals to changes in their environment. Our goal is to contribute to the management and conservation of top predators and their ecosystem.

Environmental Effects

Long term and large dimension of environmental effects on the phenologies, movements, distributions, abundances, and behaviors of cetaceans and their prey.

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Influence of Sound

Field and laboratory experiments on the influence of sound produced by individuals or groups of animals shaping organismal interactions and community functions.

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Development of Instruments and Methods

Measurements for the other objectives will continuously require novel tools and subsequently advanced analysis methods.

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With marine ecosystems currently undergoing global change, the physical environment is modified and established geographic distribution, phenologies and organismal interactions will be revised. Further anthropogenic stressors such as overfishing at increasingly deeper depths, exploitation of hydrocarbons and minerals, and pollution, including noise, and waste disposal aggravate the situation. These physical stressors in the environment may bring physiological traits to their adaptive limits. Some cetacean species will be able to keep up with the pace and extent of the necessary adaption and may even benefit from it with new habitats opening up for them, while others will be much more vulnerable.

We need to establish long-term and large spatial scale datasets and innovative methods to detect, quantify, and describe effects on daily and seasonal behavior, long-term trends in distribution and abundance, and animal-environment interactions. These will serve as a basis to identify and comprehend ecosystem adaptations and to consequently adjust protected species management strategies.

Research Interests

  • Acoustic ecology
  • Adaptive strategies in a changing environment
  • Conservation and management of protected species
  • Sustained deep sea observations and management
  • Acoustic long-term monitoring
  • Habitat and behavioral modeling
  • Acoustic species discrimination and classification

Principle Investigator: Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering

Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering is an Associate Research Scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research covers time-series analysis of phenological patterns and spatial ecology of pelagic nekton, interactions of predators and prey, and adaptations of animals to natural and anthropogenic changes in the environment.

She has carried out collaborative ecological research using advanced acoustical and environmental sampling technologies with indirect and direct applications to fisheries management.

A Scientist's Life in 99 Seconds: Dr. Baumann-Pickering

Simone Baumann-Pickering

The latest research

Our most recent publications and posters

Co-occurrence of beaked whale strandings and naval sonar in the Mariana Islands, Western Pacific

Simonis AE, Brownell Jr RL, Thayre BJ, Trickey JS, Oleson EM, Huntington R, Baumann-Pickering S (2020). Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287(20200070). 10.1098/rspb.2020.0070

DetEdit: A graphical user interface for annotating and editing events detected in long-term acoustic monitoring data

Solsona-Berga A, Frasier KE, Baumann-Pickering S, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA (2020). PLoS Computational Biology 16:e1007598. 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007598

Global observing needs in the deep ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science

Levin LA, Bett BJ, Gates AR, Heimbach P, Howe BM, Janssen F, McCurdy A, Ruhl HA, Snelgrove P, Stocks KI, Bailey D, Baumann-Pickering S,… Weller RA (2019). 6(241). 10.3389/fmars.2019.00241

Assessing seasonality and density from passive acoustic monitoring of signals presumed to be from pygmy and dwarf sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico

Hildebrand JA, Frasier KE, Baumann-Pickering S, Wiggins SM, Merkens KP, Garrison LP, Soldevilla MS, McDonald MA (2019). Frontiers in Marine Science, 6(66). 10.3389/fmars.2019.00066

Cetacean occurrence near the South Shetland Islands based on long-term passive acoustic monitoring

Trickey JS, Rice AC, Solsona-Berga A, Bartlett A, Baumann-Pickering S, Širović A, Hildebrand JA, Reyes Reyes MV, Melcón ML, Iñíguez MA (2020). Ocean Sciences Meeting, February 16-21, San Diego, California.

Demographic seasonality of sperm whales in the central Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands

Posdaljian N, Solsona-Berga A, Frasier KE, Soderstjerna C, Hildebrand JA, Baumann-Pickering S (2020). Ocean Sciences Meeting, February 16-21, San Diego, California.

Seasonal response of large mobile predators to oceanographic and prey conditions at an offshore abysso-pelagic environment

Baumann-Pickering S, Širović A, Trickey JS, Rice A, Zaba KD, Send U, Renfree J, Demer DA (2019). OceanObs'19, September 16-20, Honolulu, Hawaii

Geographic variation in Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) echolocation signal

JS Trickey, KE Frasier, JA Hildebrand, EM Oleson, MS Soldevilla, LEW Hodge, AJ Read, DM Cholewiak, SM Van Parijs, S Baumann-Pickering (2019). World Marine Mammal Conference, Barcelona, Spain

The R/V Sally Ride