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Developing novel solutions to minimize impact of human-animal interaction

In brief, the Bioacoustics Program promotes sustainable human activity and conservation through better understanding of the interplay between animals and their acoustic environment, both on land and in the sea.  Simply put, bioacoustics is the study of sound in biological systems, including animal sound perception and production.  Sound is the most widespread source of information in a dynamic environment, covering 360°, 24/7, through darkness and obscured habitats, in deep water, underground, in fact anywhere except empty space.  Sound is especially important in the ocean, where light travels poorly. Animals must use it in every aspect of their lives – to find mates, maintain social bonds, care for young, navigate, find prey, avoid predators, and monitor the world around them. HSWRI bioacousticians work to understand this important interface for marine and terrestrial animals and how they interact with a variety of sound sources, human-made and natural. What they learn has been helping managers, planners, and conservationists protect wildlife since the program’s inception.

Since its earliest days, the Bioacoustics Program has focused on animal acoustic communicationquantifying basic functioning of animal signaling; applied research on animal sound perception, using the information to develop better management strategies and diagnostic tools; effects of human-made noise on marine and terrestrial species identifying causes of impact and advising on mitigation measures; and developing acoustic tools to prevent injuries and mortalities, for example by keeping marine life away from dangerous nets or vehicles.

Core Research Themes