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
K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, room # 162
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Degree(s): Dr. rer. nat., University of Leipzig, Germany, 2015