Dr. Olaf Boebel

I am a physicist working in the fields of physical oceanography and bioacoustics. Generally, my work revolves around the development and deployment of novel observations tools, like under ice Argo floats, Pressure Inverted Echosounders (PIES) for oceanographic studies, and infrared imaging for automatic marine mammal detection and passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammal research and mitigation. I supervise the maintenance of the Weddell Sea’s HAFOS (Hybrid Antarctic Float Observing System) long-term marine observatory including the PALAOA listening station and acted as chief scientists for several RV Polarstern expeditions.



Elke Burkhardt

I am a marine biologist with interests in marine mammal distribution, habitat use and marine bioacoustics mainly focusing on larger whales in polar waters. I also have a keen interest in marine noise and its effects on marine life and in developing risk mitigation measures. I am a trained marine mammal observer and currently a member of the German delegation to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission.





Dr. Irene Torrecilla Roca

I am a biologist specialized in eco- and bio-acoustics. I have expertise in passive acoustic monitoring, acoustic signal processing and data analysis, including machine learning methods and data mining. I am mainly interested in understanding how the environment modulates sonic animal communities’ structure and dynamics. Currently I’m working on a combination of simulation models and field-based surveys from the Southern Ocean to assess variations in marine mammals’ assemblages. As well as, developing utilities to extract information from the acoustic environments including, sonic species identification, community indicators and habitat quality descriptors.


Dr. Ahmed El-Gabbas

I am conservation & quantitative ecologist interested in modelling the spatio-temporal distribution of species. My research is mainly focused on studying the spatial distribution of biodiversity and the prioritization of conservation efforts. I am interested in understanding factors determining species distributions in time and space, mainly using the overarching methods of species distribution modelling. Currently, I am modelling the spatio-temporal distribution of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean using visual observations and passive acoustic data.

Website: https://elgabbas.netlify.app/

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=hJ0tB04AAAAJ


Dr. Karolin Thomisch

My research addresses how the distribution of marine mammals relates to abiotic and biotic environmental factors to explore the ecological role of marine mammals in the Arctic Ocean. Data stem from the interdisciplinary Arctic FRAM ocean observatory, which provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into these interrelationships. I strongly believe that a holistic understanding of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem is essential in view of future management and conservation strategies to preserve this unique and fragile ecosystem.

Starting in November 2020, I will man the International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) International Project Office and aid coordinating its scientific activities.


Dr. Ilse van Opzeeland

I see sound as an invaluable resource of information about environments, particularly when it stems from remote underwater environments, such as the Southern Ocean, where most of my work is focused. My current research uses acoustic data as a foundation for developing new concepts of evaluating underwater sound environments (soundscape planning, acoustic biodiversity assessments), but also for the investigation of marine mammal habitat usage. Within the IWC-SORP Acoustic Trends Steering Group (ATG), my interest and contributions evolve around improving our understanding of the behavior and spatio-temporal distribution patterns of Antarctic blue and fin whales in Antarctic waters.


Ramona Mattmueller

I am a marine biologist focusing on the biodiversity and spatio-temporal patterns of marine mammals in the Fram Strait. I am particularly interested in the biodiversity, distribution and migration patterns, and habitat use of marine mammals in polar seas and how environmental alterations (sea ice decline, increasing noise, changing species communities) affect their acoustic ecology and distribution patterns.


Engineers and technicians

Michael Flau



Stefanie Spiesecke

Since Nov. 2010, I am part of the ocean acoustics lab within the physical oceanography section at the AWI. With a background in oceanographic engineering, my tasks are mainly the maintenance, test, preparation and trouble-shooting of instruments (e.g. underwater acoustic recorder, Acoustic Zooplankton and Fish Profiler “AZFP”, RAFOS sound source) for deployment in oceanographic moorings. Additionally I am the technical contact for our PALAOA listening station on the Antarctic shelf. I also take care of securing and pre-processing raw data from recovered instruments. My work involves regular participation in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic as a member of the oceanographic mooring team.

Andy Traumüller

I am a Computer Scientist with interest in Research Software Development and Data Management. My tasks revolve around Data Gathering and Providing of standard processing pipelines and methods around spatio-temporal data. Additionally I also provide technical support for current projects and I am a Content Manager for the AWI Homepage. My current focus is the work as a Fullstack Developer in the Marehub project.

Current PhD Students

Diego Filun

I am a marine biologist with interest in the study of marine mammals and underwater sounds. My main focus is to use state of the art passive acoustics to study the temporal and spatial distribution of marine mammals, their interaction with the environment and the effect of anthropogenic noise on the marine ecosystem.

My expertise is to detect and classify aquatic sounds in large data sets for species identification. Currently I am investigating the usage of different vocalization patterns by Antarctic minke whales.

Researchgate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Diego_Filun

Elena Schall

I am a marine biologist specialised in bioacoustics. My main interest is to understand the effects of the physical environment and the ecosystem productivity on animal distributions, abundances and their acoustic behaviour. I am skilled in signal processing, including the detection and classification of marine mammal vocalisations, and in the comparative analysis of structure in vocalisation sequences.
Currently I am working on the analysis of spatio-temporal patterns in the acoustic presence and behaviour of humpback whales in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean.

Researchgate profile: www.researchgate.net/profile/Elena_Schall

Former members and students

PhDs (Doktoranden)

Daniel Zitterbart (2013)

Uni Erlangen

Topic: Locomotion in Biological Systems

Annette Bombosch (2013)

Uni Bremen

Topic: Modelling habitat suitability of humpback and Antarctic minke whale feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean

Ilse van Opzeeland (2010)

Uni Bremen

Acoustic ecology of marine mammals in polar oceans

Holger Klinck (2008)

Uni Trier

Topic: Automated passive acoustic detection, localization and identification of leopard seals: from hydro-acoustic technology to leopard seal ecology

Master students (Master Studenten)

Victoria Field (2021) 

Master Uni Bremen 

Title: Analysis of the geographic variation in fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) calls reveals population identities 

Sari Mangia Woods (2020)

Master Uni Groningen

Topic: Preliminary assessment of the acoustic presence of multiple humpback whale populations in the eastern Weddell Sea in 2011 and 2012

Ramona Mattmüller (2019)

Master Uni Bremen

Topic: Marine mammal acoustic presence in relation to sea ice concentrations off Tasiilaq, East Greenland

Katharina Hiemer (2019)

Master Uni Bremen

Topic: Patterns in the Acoustic Presence and Vocal Behaviour of Bowhead Whales Balaena mysticetus in Eastern Fram Strait

Diandra Duengen (2019)

Master Uni Oldenburg

Topic: Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) distribution modelling in the Nordic Seas & adjacent waters

Karoline Hots (2019)

Master Uni Oldenburg

Topic: Acoustic presence of marine mammals in the Southern Ocean in 2013.

An observation of vocal presence based on year-round passive acoustic monitor-ing data.

Lisa Ganz (2018)

Master Student Research Project Uni Bremen

Topic: A “13-Hz” short call recorded off Elephant Island, Antarctica – By which species is it emitted?

Rajan, Sahana Soundara (2017, HS Bremerhaven)

Development of Image Processing Algorithm for Whale Blow Detection and Optimization

Simone Mueller (2017)

Master Uni Oldenburg

Topic: Analysis of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) sounds from the Southern Ocean

Hanna Michel (2015)

Master Uni Oldenburg

Topic: Analysis of the behavioural response of fin and humpback whales to an icebreaker using a thermal imaging based whale detection system

Theresa Schwenke (2013)

Master Uni Bremen

Topic: Underwater acoustic behavior of leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) and Ross seals (Ommatophoca rossii) in Antarctic coastal and offshore habitats

Alicia Schmidt-Roach (2008)

Master ISATEC Bremen

Topic: Gray whales, Boat noise and Tourism in Bahia Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Anna-Maria Seibert (2007)

Master/Diplomarbeit Uni Muenchen

Topic: The Ross seal and its underwater vocalizations

Bachelor students (Bachelor Studenten)

Maria Mallet (2020)

Bachelor Hochschule Bremerhaven

Title: Environmental management of Antarctic cruise tourism: Does ship presence affect marine mammal acoustic behaviour.

Lea Eichler (2019)

Bachelor Uni Bremen

Topic: Vocal Behavior of Antarctic Minke Whales in the Weddell Sea

Lys Kronenberger (2019)

Bachelor Uni Bremen

Topic: Seasonal and Diurnal Patterns in Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Acoustic presence off Namibia

Svenja Neumann (2017)

Bachelor Uni Bremen

Topic: Acoustic diversity of Arctic marine mammals of Fram Strait

Marlene Meister (2017)

Bachelor Uni Bremen

Topic: Temporal patterns in the acoustic presence of marine mammals off Elephant Island, Antarctica

Elena Schall (2013)

Bachelor Uni Bremen

Topic: Compilation of a call catalogue for Antarctic killer whales (Orcinus orca), Ecotype C

Theresa Schwenke (2013)

Bacherlor Universität Bremen

Underwater acoustic behavior of leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) and Ross seals (Ommatophoca rossii) in Antarctic coastal and offshore habitats

Sebastian Menze (2012)

Bachelor Hochschule Bremerhaven

Topic: Passive acoustic monitoring of ambient noise in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean

Svenja Zakrzewski (2010)

Bachelor Hochschule Bremerhaven

Topic: Bioakustische Aufnahmen mit PALAOA-S: Datenanalyse und Weiterentwicklung des Systems

Interns (Praktikanten)

Cornelia Kreiss (2008)

Praktikum Uni Bremen

Louise Rawolle

Praktikum Uni Oldenburg

Laura Richert

HIWI Uni Bremen

Julia Müller

Hiwi Uni Bremen

Jenny Bachmann

Praktikum Uni Bremen

Dominik Osztermayer

Praktikum Uni Bremen

Nele Schmidt

Hiwi Uni Bremen

Lisa Ganz

HIWI Uni Bremen

Kristina Boerder

Praktikum Uni Bremen

Rike Vooth

Praktikum Uni Bremen

Stefanie Czudaj


Former staff members and guests (Frühere Mitarbeiter und Gäste)

Dr. Horst Bornemann

Dr. Lars Kindermann

Victoria Warren

Dr. Monika Breitzke

Emmanuelle Leroy, PhD

Abraham Tula

Harold Figueroa, PhD

Dr. Samantha Lake