Aaron Rice, Ph.D.

Aaron N. Rice

My current research focuses on the production and perception of sounds by fishes and whales, and I use this information to address two key areas in coastal ecology: how sounds are produced and used to structure social behaviors, and how I can use the spatial and temporal occurrence of species-specific sounds to understand the population dynamics of vocalizing species. My work has revealed that fish sounds often dominate the soundscapes of the coastal ecosystems, often for several months at a time. In turn, the occurrence of fish and whale sounds can reveal patterns of community assembly and how community structure may be influenced through environmental changes–the timing of migratory patterns and the onset and duration of reproductive behavior are strongly influenced by hydrological or oceanographic patterns.

Much of my ecological research also has a direct application to natural resource management and conservation. I have been repeatedly approached by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and various federal and state agencies to collect bioacoustic data to support policy decisions. The ecology of Atlantic fishes and whales represents important information for effective coastal marine and spatial planning and resource management. Several of our recent publications were directly used as support for the expansion of North Atlantic right whale critical habitats (Federal Register 81:4837), and contributed to the listing of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whales as endangered (Federal Register 81:88639). In the context of coastal and marine spatial planning, I have been the first to establish patterns of resident marine mammals and fishes in offshore wind energy development areas to influence windfarm development (notably in the Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, and North Carolina wind planning areas). As an example of using passive acoustic approaches for fisheries management, in collaboration with the National Park Service, I am examining how directed freshwater flow through the Everglades impacts spawning behavior of fish populations in Florida Bay.

I have been actively involved in the marine mammal and bioacoustics scientific communities, focusing on data, management, and policy issues. I have worked closely with different agencies in the federal government (NOAA, BOEM, U.S. Navy, MMC), state agencies (Maryland, Maine, Virginia, New York), industry and NGOs. For a recent passive acoustic project focusing on fish and whale ecology on the Atlantic coast (funded through the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), I received the Partners in Conservation Award from the U.S. Department of Interior (2014).

I have served as a grant reviewer panelist for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (through the Council for Ocean Leadership) and the North Pacific Research Board, and more than 30 journals.

I received degrees from Davidson College (B.S.), Boston University (M.A.), and the University of Chicago (M.S. and Ph.D.), and completed my postdoctoral training at Cornell.

Year hired: 2009

Contact Information
K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.
Phone: +1.607.254.2178
Email: arice@cornell.edu

Social Media: ResearchGateGoogle ScholarLinkedInTwitter

Website: https://fishsounds.weebly.com/

Organizations: American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Ecological Society of America, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

Recent Publications

Iafrate, J. et al. (2023) ‘Evidence of Atlantic midshipman (Porichthys plectrodon) vocalizations from an unmanned surface vehicle in the U.S. South Atlantica)’, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 154(5), pp. 2928–2936. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0022328.
Roberts, L. and Rice, A.N. (2023) ‘Vibrational and acoustic communication in fishes: The overlooked overlap between the underwater vibroscape and soundscape’, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 154(4), pp. 2708–2720. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0021878.
Looby, A. et al. (2023) ‘Global inventory of species categorized by known underwater sonifery’, Scientific Data [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-41023-02745-41594; 10.1038/s41597-023-02745-4.
Miller, C.R. and Rice, A.N. (2023) ‘A synthesis of the risks of marine light pollution across organismal and ecological scales’, Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, n/a(n/a). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.4011.
Cox, K.D. et al. (2023) ‘Military training in the Canadian Pacific: Taking aim at critical habitat or sufficient mitigation of noise pollution impacts?’, Marine Policy [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2023.105945.
Han, S.M. et al. (2023) ‘Sound production biomechanics in three-spined toadfish and potential functional consequences of swim bladder morphology in the Batrachoididae’, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/doi:10.1121/10.0022386.
Rice, A.N. and Cohen, R.E. (2023) ‘Listening to Great Lakes fishes’, IAGLR Lakes Letters, (Spring), pp. 11–12.
Williams, K.A. et al. (2023) ‘Sound-Related Effects of Offshore Wind Energy on Fishes and Aquatic Invertebrates: Research Recommendations’, in A.N. Popper et al. (eds) The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life: Principles and Practical Considerations. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1–19. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-10417-6_164-1.
Van Hoeck, R.V. et al. (2023) ‘Comparing Atlantic Cod Temporal Spawning Dynamics across a Biogeographic Boundary: Insights from Passive Acoustic Monitoring’, Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 15(2), p. e10226. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/mcf2.10226.
Estabrook, B.J. et al. (2022) ‘Dynamic spatiotemporal acoustic occurrence of North Atlantic right whales in the offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts Wind Energy Areas’, Endangered Species Research, 49, pp. 115–133. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01206.
Fournet, M.EH. et al. (2022) ‘Altered acoustic community structure indicates delayed recovery following ecosystem perturbations’, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 274, p. 107948. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2022.107948.
Getchell, R.G. et al. (2022) ‘Effects of ultrasonic algal control devices on fish’, Lake and Reservoir Management, 38(3), pp. 240–255. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10402381.2022.2077865.
Parsons, M.J.G. et al. (2022) ‘Sounding the Call for a Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds’, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10. Available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fevo.2022.810156 (Accessed: 8 February 2022).
Popper, A.N. et al. (2022) ‘Offshore wind energy development: Research priorities for sound and vibration effects on fishes and aquatic invertebrates: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America: Vol 151, No 1’, Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, 151(205). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0009237.
Rice, A.N. et al. (2022) ‘Evolutionary Patterns in Sound Production across Fishes’, Ichthyology & Herpetology, 110(1), pp. 1–12. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1643/i2020172.
DeGregorio, B.A., Wolff, P.J. and Rice, A.N. (2021) ‘Evaluating hydrophones for detecting underwater-calling frogs: implications for monitoring imperiled species’, Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 16(3), pp. 513–524.
Cusack, C. et al. (2021) ‘Marine ecotourism for small pelagics as a source of alternative income generating activities to fisheries in a tropical community’, Biological Conservation, 261, p. 109242. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109242.
Bailey, H. et al. (2021) ‘Identifying and predicting occurrence and abundance of a vocal animal species based on individually specific calls’, Ecosphere, 12(8), p. e03685. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3685.
Odom, K.J. et al. (2021) ‘Comparative bioacoustics: a roadmap for quantifying and comparing animal sounds across diverse taxa’, Biological Reviews [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12695.