Rebecca Cohen, Ph.D.

Rebecca Cohen, Ph.D.
Rebecca Cohen, Ph.D.

I  am broadly interested in bioacoustics and the spatial ecology and habitat use patterns of marine and aquatic species, especially in understanding drivers of observed patterns in distribution and activity. Practically speaking, I work primarily with passive acoustic data sets, applying machine learning and statistical tools to detect and classify species of interest, characterize distribution and activity patterns, and relate species presence and behavioral state to environmental factors and anthropogenic activities. My overarching research goal is to provide ecological insights to aid managers and stakeholders in implementing targeted and effective conservation and mitigation strategies.

As a postdoctoral associate at the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics I’m studying several protected fish species in the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, including Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon, and river herring. These anadromous species move between riverine and marine habitats in different life stages, generating important ecosystem services far beyond their historical value as targets of commercial fisheries. Protecting and rehabilitating these populations will help to support the stability and biodiversity of the Hudson river ecosystem.

I completed my PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD under Dr. John Hildebrand, Dr. Kait Frasier, and Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering. My doctoral research focused on the acoustic ecology of toothed whale species along the U.S. eastern seaboard, building from the basics of acoustic species discrimination to characterizing spatiotemporal patterns in species presence and developing habitat models. Cetaceans are my first love, but what I find really neat about acoustic data is its utility for studying an incredibly diverse array of species.

Year Hired: 2022

Contact Information
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Room # 166
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.

Ph.D., Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography UCSD, 2022
M.S., Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography UCSD, 2019
B.S. Biology, CUNY Brooklyn College, 2016

Social Media: Twitter, Linkedin, Google Scholar, ResearchGate

Cohen, R.E. et al. (2023) ‘Spatial and temporal separation of toothed whales in the western North Atlantic’, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 720, pp. 1–24. Available at:
Rice, A.N. and Cohen, R.E. (2023) ‘Listening to Great Lakes fishes’, IAGLR Lakes Letters, (Spring), pp. 11–12.
Lester, J.D. et al. (2021) ‘Recent genetic connectivity and clinal variation in chimpanzees’, Communications Biology, 4(1), pp. 1–11. Available at:
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:
Kalan, A.K. et al. (2020) ‘Environmental variability supports chimpanzee behavioural diversity’, Nature Communications, 11(1), p. 4451. Available at: