OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Research

Research at the ORCAA lab falls broadly under three topics: Technology, Ecology, and Noise.

Technology

Within our lab we strive to develop the physical and programming tools needed to conduct passive, and in some cases active, acoustic research. This includes the design of stationary and mobile recording systems, animal mounted acoustic tags, and the software to collect, manage, and process bioacoustic data.  Researchers and students interested in acoustic technologies are encouraged to contact Dr. Holger Klinck to discuss potential collaborations, research proposals, and student-advisor relationships. 

Examples of technology focused projects include- Real-time Acoustics Observing Station (RAOS)

Ecology

Bioacoustics and passive acoustic monitoring are ideally suited to answering ecological questions about the marine soundscape, animal behavior, distribution and abundance, and behavioral responses.  Acoustic devices can be deployed and left to collect data with minimal impact on the species of concern.  In the marine environment sound is the primary sensory modality used by animals for communication, navigation, and foraging.  Critical information pertaining to these life functions can be obtained recording and decoding the ambient sounds and the animals’ vocalizations in an otherwise inaccessible ocean.

Examples of ecology focused projects include- Passive acoustic monitoring in the North Pacific

Noise

The world is growing noisy.  Anthropogenic activities, ranging from vessel noise, construction noise, to highway noise and renewable energy development, all input sound into the environment.  Increasing noise levels have the potential to mask communication in vocal species, alter critical life functions in sound sensitive species, and may incite behavioral responses that have detrimental impacts on survival and reproductive fitness.  The ORCAA lab is committed to using applied bioacoustics to assess the impact of anthropogenic noise on species that rely on sound in both the marine and terrestrial environment. 

Examples of noise focused projects include- Assessing the impacts of vessel noise on humpback whales

An Integrated Approach

Many of our projects combine facets of our three research areas.  To assess the impact of noise on elephant seals requires (1) an understanding of their behavior in the absence of noise; (2) the development of technology to produce and record sound for controlled exposure studies; (3) a before-during-after design approach to reveal the impacts of noise. 

Selected Project Locations