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 Professor 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

The Deep Ocean Observing Strategy: Addressing Global Challenges in the Deep Sea Through Collaboration

Smith LM, Cimoli L, LaScala-Gruenewald D, Pachiadaki M, Phillips B, Pillar H, Stopa JE, Baumann-Pickering S, Beaulieu SE, Bell KLC, Harden-Davies H, Heimbach P, Howe B, Janssen F, Levin LA, Ruhl HA, Soule A, Stocks K, Vardaro MF, Wright DJ (2022). Marine Technology Society. 10.4031/MTSJ.56.3.11

Echolocation repetition rate as a proxy to monitor population structure and dynamics of sperm whales

Solsona-Berga A, Posdaljian N, Hildebrand, JA, Baumann-Pickering S (2022). Remote Sens Ecol Conserv. 10.1029/2021JC018180

Monthly to decadal variability of mesoscale stirring in the California Current System: Links To Upwelling, Climate Forcing, And Chlorophyll Transport

Giddings A, Franks PJ, Baumann-Pickering S (2022). Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 127, e2021JC018180. 10.1029/2021JC018180

Echolocation click discrimination for three killer whale ecotypes in the Northeastern Pacific

Leu AA, Hildebrand JA, Rice A, Baumann-Pickering S, Frasier KE (2022). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 151, 3197. 10.1121/10.0010450

Discriminating and classifying odontocete echolocation clicks in the Hawaiian Islands using machine learning methods

Ziegenhorn MA, Frasier KE, Hildebrand JA, Oleson EM, Baird RW, Wiggins SM, Baumann-Pickering S (2022). PLOS One. 10.1371/journal.pone.0266424

Update on frequency decline of Northeast Pacific blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) calls

Rice A, Širović A, Hildebrand JA, Wood M, Carbaugh-Rutland A, Baumann-Pickering S (2022). PLOS One. 10.1371/journal.pone.0266469

Ending the day with a song - Patterns of calling behavior in a species of rockfish

Kok ACM, Bishop KM, Kim EB, Margolina T, Joseph JE, Peavey Reeves LE, Hatch LT, Baumann-Pickering S (2020). Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour meeting, December 3-4.

Diel Patterns of Bocaccio Rockfish Communication

Bishop KM, Kok ACM, Kim EB, Margolina T, Joseph JE, Peavey LE, Hatch LT, Baumann-Pickering S (2020). AGU December 7-11. Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

Evaluation of a Neural Network for Automated Classification of Beaked Whale Echolocation Clicks

Field C, Solsona-Berga A, Cohen R, Trickey JS, Mueller-Brennan L, Ackerknecht T, Frasier KE, Cholewiak D, Van Parjis S, Baumann-Pickering S (2020). Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

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.

The R/V Sally Ride