Research

We conduct a broad range of terrestrial, aquatic, and marine bioacoustic research, often at large geographic scales. Many of our projects are applied, featuring a strong focus on the conservation of endangered species. More recently we have engaged in soundscape ecology research and the development of acoustic metrics to assess biodiversity and ecosystem health. We are also researching new ways to collect and analyze acoustic data sets using autonomous mobile systems and algorithm development. Here is an overview of our current research portfolio:

  • Soundscapes, Acoustic Habitats, and Biodiversity

    Soundscapes and acoustic habitats are complex and comprised of a variety of biological, geophysical, and anthropogenic acoustic signals. Much of our research in this area focuses on the assessment of spatiotemporal variability in ambient noise levels and how the various acoustic sources contribute to the overall soundscape. We are also developing new analysis techniques to assess biodiversity... See More

  • Photo: Kristin B. Hodge

    Passive Acoustic Monitoring

    Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) of terrestrial and marine animals and ecosystem at ecologically appropriate scales has always been an integral part of BRP's work. We have extensive experience in the design and execution of PAM projects. Typically, these efforts support the assessment of: Abundance and distribution of endangered, ecosystem-sentinel, or invasive species. Potential negative impacts of... See More

  • Algorithm Research and Modeling

    Over the past two decades, BRP has collected large amounts — literally, hundreds of years — of acoustic data. To keep up with the analysis of the data, we develop detection, classification, and localization (DCL) algorithms to efficiently and semi-automatically screen our sound archives for signals of interest. Recently we have started to evaluate machine learning (especially deep... See More

  • Photo: Bobbi J. Estabrook

    Elephant Listening Project

    The Elephant Listening Project (ELP) was founded by Katy Payne. Katy discovered infrasonic communication in elephants in the zoo in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1980s and realized that their low-frequency calls could be used to study and protect these animals in the wild. Since its official inception in 2000, ELP has been primarily focusing on the study of African... See More

  • Acoustic Communication and Behavior

    The study of animal acoustic communication and behavior is currently one of our smaller but steadily growing research areas. Understanding the acoustic behavior of animals, which often varies with time of day, season, and by sex and age class, is very important for many of our projects. The study of behavioral context of calls is another... See More

  • Mobile Autonomous Vehicles

    Mobile autonomous vehicles equipped with acoustic sensors allow us to collect data on animal abundance and assess distribution with high spatial and temporal resolution in remote and inaccessible areas. BRP has been involved in the development of acoustic deep-diving underwater vehicles (oceanographic gliders and floats), ocean surface vehicles (robotic sailboats), as well as aerial vehicles (balloons) for... See More