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PNB Colloquium Series - Francis Juanes - Listening in: describing aquatic soundscapes and assessing the effects of noise



Francis Juanes
University of Victoria

Talk Title: Listening in: describing aquatic soundscapes and assessing the effects of noise

Talk Abstract: The underwater soundscape is an important habitat feature for aquatic animals that rely on sound but remains an understudied trait of aquatic ecosystems. Sound travels much further under water than in air and thus has the capacity to have more widespread effects on aquatic biota. Aquatic soundscapes continue to change with rapidly expanding ocean industries and human activities, and concurrent changes in ocean physics and biology. However, we still know very little about the impacts of human-made noise on marine organisms, especially fishes. In this talk, I summarize recent work focused on building sound libraries of fishes that can be incorporated into ecosystem-based analysis of soundscapes, along with quantifying and modeling the effects of noise. We work in both freshwater and marine ecosystems from temperate to tropical to Arctic environments, and from shallow waters to the deep sea. We have collected and quantitatively described a variety of (primarily) fish sounds in many of these environments. We have developed methods to validate these sounds in the field by combining video and audio capabilities for localization with remote deployments and eventual automatic detection. These sounds are then used to help describe soundscapes by separating the different components to assess how each differs spatially and temporally. Finally, we have begun to assess effects of noise on fishes in natural and semi-natural conditions and thru modeling so that they can be included when assessing cumulative stressors on aquatic organisms. As soundscapes continue to change it is critical to understand what is driving these changes in order to better manage aquatic ecosystems.
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