Acoustic Ecology

Underwater marine environments are filled with sounds. Many aquatic organisms, including marine mammals, produce and rely on acoustic signals as primary source of information about their environment. These sounds carry information on the behavioural context the producing animal is currently involved in. Some sounds serve a purpose during the mating season, others are produced in a foraging context. When and what kind of sound a species produces will be determined by the species-specific behavioural ecology, as well as by the animal's (acoustic) environment. Acoustic Ecology describes this interaction between an animal and its environment, as mediated through sound.

Our team’s research on Acoustic Ecology aims to better understand:

  • The acoustic repertoire of transitory or resident marine mammal species in polar regions
  • The spatial and temporal variation in species’ acoustic repertoire and its relation with the population and community structure and behavioural context
  • The links between species vocal activity, environmental conditions and different biotic factors.

Listen here to examples of polar underwater sounds.