Ann E. Bowles, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

Research Areas

Bioacoustics, Animal Behavior, Sensory Ecology


  • B.A., Linguistics, Magna Cum Laude, University of California, San Diego
  • Ph.D., Marine Biology Curricular Group, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Professional Activities

  • Acoustical Society of America (ASA), Co-chair, Animal Bioacoustics Technical Specialty Group (1996-1998);

  • Animal Bioacoustics Technical Committee (1998-present);

  • ASA Committee on Standards (1998-present);

  • advising for organizations and agencies such as the Institute for Environmental Monitoring and Research, San Diego Zoo Global, National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Program,

  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and NOAA Acoustics Program.

University Affiliations

  • Visiting Researcher, Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego;
  • Adjunct Professor, Marine and Environmental Studies Program, University of San Diego;
  • Adjunct Lecturer, San Diego State University
Ann E. Bowles is a Senior Research Scientist at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, specializing in Animal Behavior or Bioacoustics, the study of animal sound perception and production. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1994 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) for research in her basic area of interest, the vocal development and communication of marine birds and cetaceans. A long term focus of her work has been vocal dialect development in the killer whale as a biological model for human dialects. Her applied focus for 35 years has been the effects of noise and disturbance on a wide range of taxa, including pinnipeds, cetaceans, terrestrial mammals (in particular, the polar bear), sirenians, and threatened and endangered birds and reptiles.

Dr. Bowles leads the Animal BehaviorProgram at HSWRI.  She is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and serves on advisory and standards committees developing criteria for wildlife noise exposure, including the ASA Committee on Standards and the NOAA Ocean Acoustics Program.  She has been an active proponent of STEM education, particularly for young women, through organizations such as San Diego Science Alliance’s BE WiSE, the American Association of University Women’s Tech Trek, and Expanding Your Horizons.  She has advised 14 PhD and Master’s student, as well as over 200 interns and field researchers.

Selected Publications

Bowles, A.E. and R.C. Anderson.  Behavioral responses and habituation of pinnipeds and small cetaceans to novel objects and simulated fishing gear with and without a pinger.  Aquatic Mammals 38(2): 161-188.  2012.

Hayward, L.S., A. Bowles, J.C. Ha, and S.K. Wasser, Impacts of acute and long-term vehicle exposure on physiology and reproductive success of the northern spotted owl. Ecosphere 2(6), Article 65: 1 – 20 [online journal of the Ecological Society of America]. 2011.

Owen, M.A., and A.E. Bowles. Auditory Psychophysics and the Management of a Threatened Large Carnivore, the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus).  International Journal of Comparative Psychology 24:244-254. 2011.

Schlundt, C.E., R.L. Dear, D.S. Houser, A.E. Bowles, T. Reidarson, J.J. Finneran. Auditory evoked potentials in two short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 129(2): 1111-1116. 2011.

Bowles, A.E., S.L. Denes, and M. Shane. Acoustic characteristics of ultrasonic coded transmitters for fishery applications:  could marine mammals hear them?  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 128(5): 3223-3231.  2010.

Southall, B., A.E. Bowles, W.T. Ellison, J.J. Finneran, R.L. Gentry, C.R. Greene, Jr., D. Kastak, D.R. Ketten, J.H. Miller, P.E. Nachtigall, W.J. Richardson, J.A. Thomas, and P.L. Tyack. Marine mammal noise exposure criteria: Initial scientific recommendations.  Aquatic Mammals 33(4): 411-521. 2007.

Wolski, L., R. Anderson, A.E. Bowles, P.K. Yochem. Measuring hearing in the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina): comparison of behavioral and auditory brainstem response techniques. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 113(1): 629-637. 2003.

Bowles, A.E., S. Wisdom, and K. Anderson. Call development and behavior of ‘JJ’, a rehabilitated gray whale calf, Eschrichtius robustus. Aquatic Mammals 27(3): 239-255. 2001.

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