Environmental Effects

Long term and large dimension of environmental effects on the phenologies, movements, distributions, abundances, and behaviors of cetaceans and their prey, particularly species in pelagic and deep-sea ecosystems

Topics that our group investigates, using mostly acoustical and environmental sampling technologies, are spatial and temporal variability; adaptations of prey and their predators; migration for foraging, mating and overwintering; geographic range shifts due to changing environmental conditions or anthropogenic impacts; and statistical modeling of these relationships. This will indirectly and directly advance protected species management and conservation. The majority of our current projects are within this research avenue.

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

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

We are interested in the role of sound on individual and group decisions. Phonotaxis has been shown as relevant in many behavioral and ecological contexts such as mate choice, competition, flight or fight, or assessments on prey location and habitat quality. Decisions based on acoustic cues occur in larvae to adults and in invertebrates to vertebrates. They play a very critical role in intra- and inter-specific organismal interactions. What we are currently engaged in is exploring passive listening of predators on prey-generated sounds. Individuals of a large group producing sound simultaneously are not easily detectable, but a predator may be honing into properties of preferred “sound clouds” for optimal foraging decisions. Another major area of research is impact of anthropogenic noise on the behavior of individuals and groups.

Listening in the Deep - Using Sound to Study Animals We Cannot See

Development of Instruments and Methods

Development of instruments and methods

Measurements for the above objectives will continuously require novel tools and subsequently advanced analysis methods. We have in previous and ongoing projects defined and conceptualized instrumentation needs and subsequently worked with engineers to design and construct innovative tools, such as the acoustic-optical profiling float, a vertical acoustic array, a deep-sea mooring system (4000 m water depth), or a passive-active acoustic tracking mooring, both of the latter ones with Office of Naval Research DURIP funding. We will continue these types of developments as new research questions arise and appropriate tools need to be implemented. Much time has been invested in the development of appropriate analysis methods to computationally and logistically deal with big data problems. We have been able to contribute towards considerable progress in this field over the last decade.