Scripps Institution of Oceanography
UC San Diego
spinner dolphin

The Behavioral Acoustic Ecology Lab, lead by Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, investigates biological and ecological questions that range from a basic understanding of short and long-term behavioral patterns and geographic distribution of animals, to questions like habitat preference and quality, predator-prey interactions, or adaptations to anthropogenic impacts and a changing environment. Our goal is to contribute to the management and conservation of ecosystems.

With terrestrial and marine ecosystems undergoing global change, we need to develop and establish long-term and large spatial-scale monitoring methods and datasets to detect, quantify, and describe trends in animal distributions and abundances, community structures and functions, and interactions with their environment. This knowledge will serve as a basis to identify and understand changes due to anthropogenic influences and large-scale ecosystem adaptations.

A broad range of invertebrates and vertebrates use sound for communication and sensing of their environment. Each ecosystem contains a unique symphony of sounds, a soundscape, that informs us about its species composition, possibly abundance, and together with information about the physical environment leads to the characterization of the ecology and behavior of the species producing and interpreting sound. Acoustics can be used to investigate how the individual’s behavior may be shaping the ecology of the community or how individuals and populations may be reacting to a changing environment. The group is using active and passive acoustic methods, optics and auxiliary environmental measurements to monitor and understand ecosystem adaptations.