Daniela Hedwig, Ph.D.

Daniela Hedwig
Daniela Hedwig

I am the director of the Elephant Listening Project in the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

I am a behavioral and conservation biologist who studies various functional aspects of mammalian vocal communication systems and how we can apply such information to improve current passive acoustic monitoring methods. What functions do vocalizations serve and what are the socioecological drivers behind their evolution are the central scientific questions I ask in order to chart out vocal communication systems within a broader behavioral-ecological framework.

While my research interests comprise diverse species, ranging from gorillas to manatees, I currently focus on the elusive African forest elephant, a species threatened with extinction due to poaching for ivory and habitat destruction. I explore how vocal communication enables forest elephants to maintain their social relationships within and between family groups and how in turn environmental constraints may inhibit this ability. In addition, I directly apply information on the context-specific acoustic variation in elephant vocalizations to the interpretation of passive acoustic monitoring data. The development of this novel method will allow for the remote noninvasive monitoring of the behavior of various other species on a detailed level, generating valuable information for behavioral biologists and conservationists.

More: Short CV

Year Hired: 2016

Contact Information
K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, room # 162
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Phone: +1.607.254.2139
Email: dh646@cornell.edu

Degree(s): Dr. rer. nat., University of Leipzig, Germany, 2015

Recent Publications

Hedwig, D. and Kohlberg, A. (2024) ‘Call combination in African forest elephants Loxodonta cyclotis’, PLOS ONE, 19(3), p. e0299656. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0299656.
Swider, C.R. et al. (2024) ‘Implications of target signal choice in passive acoustic monitoring: an example of age- and sex-dependent vocal repertoire use in African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis)’, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, n/a(n/a). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/rse2.380.
Kavanagh, E. et al. (2021) ‘Dominance style is a key predictor of vocal use and evolution across nonhuman primates’, Royal Society Open Science, 8(7), p. 210873. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.210873.
Barratt, C.D. et al. (2021) ‘Quantitative estimates of glacial refugia for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) since the Last Interglacial (120,000 BP)’, American Journal of Primatology, 83(10), p. e23320. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23320.
Brady, B. et al. (2020) ‘Classification of Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) vocalizations’, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(1597). Available at: https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1121/10.0000849.
Lester, J.D. et al. (2021) ‘Recent genetic connectivity and clinal variation in chimpanzees’, Communications Biology, 4(1), pp. 1–11. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01806-x.
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.
Goldenberg, S.Z. et al. (2021) ‘Entry and aggregation at a Central African bai reveal social patterns in the elusive forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis’, Animal Behaviour, 171, pp. 77–85. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2020.11.008.
Watson, S.K. et al. (2020) ‘An exploration of Menzerath’s law in wild mountain gorilla vocal sequences.’, Biology Letters, 1620200380. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0380.
Kalan, A.K. et al. (2020) ‘Environmental variability supports chimpanzee behavioural diversity’, Nature Communications, 11(1), p. 4451. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18176-3.