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© Isabelle Charrier

© Isabelle Charrier


Comparative bioacoustics II: Marine Mammals (3 ECTS)

Aims: In this module we will review the production/perception, nature, function of acoustic signals in marine mammals (pinnipeds and cetaceans) as well as the impact of noise. We will describe the different types of acoustic signals produced by pinnipeds, odontocetes and Mysticetes, and the anatomical basis of their production. We will see their hearing abilities, and review the impact of noise on their general behaviour and vocal production. We will also present technologies used to study marine mammal vocal behaviour, from passive to active monitoring and the analysis methods linked to these monitoring methods (PAM and tags). During the practical sessions, we will use sound analysis software such as Seewave, Avisoft and Raven. 


Research talks on pinniped and cetacean acoustic communication networks and noise

impact will expose you directly to current research.


Learning outcomes


By the end of the module, a successful student should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how acoustic signals of marine mammals are produced, structured and perceived;

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of noise impact on marine mammals

  3. Demonstrate a good understanding of tools for analysing marine mammal vocalisations

  4. Demonstrate a good understanding of scientific devices that can be used to study marine mammal behaviour (PAM and tags).


The final mark will be based on the oral presentation of a scientific paper (duration = 10 min + 5 min questions).


2024 Provisional Schedule

Day 1 – 23 september

09:00-12:30 Lecture (3h CM): Welcome & Description of marine mammal vocalisations and assessing the biological function of their vocalisations using playback experiments. Case study focused on Pinnipeds. Isabelle Charrier (online)


14:00-17:00 Practical (3h CM/TD): Analysis of marine mammal vocalisations. Use of Pamguard. Denise Risch(C. Curé in assistance)

Assignment of scientific papers that will be presented on Friday (1/student).


Day 2 – 24 september 09:00-12:00 Lecture (3h CM): Presentation of the standard and new technologies used to study marine mammals (behaviour and vocal production). Impact of noise on marine mammals. Study case on cetacean species. Charlotte Curé


15:00-16:30 Lecture (CM) Passive acoustic monitoring methods of polar seals. Héloîse Frouin-Mouy(Online).


17:00- 18:30 Lecture (CM): Hearing in pinnipeds. 

Conference by C. Reichmuth (Online). 


Day 3 -  25 september

09:00-12:00 Lecture (3h CM): Vocal production in cetaceans, and comparison of vocal apparatus between odontocetes and Mysticetes. Olivier Adam (Online)


14:00-17:00  Practical (3h TD): Analysis of multi-sensor tag data. Alec Burslem (tutor) + Paul Wensveen (online)


Day 4 – 26 september

09:00-12:00 Lecture (3h CM): Presentation of passive acoustic monitoring methods for cetaceans. Flore Samaran 


14:00-17:00 Afternoon Practical (3h TD): analysis methods in passive acoustic monitoring. Flore Samaran + Maelle Torterotot


Day 5 – 27 september

09:30-11:30 Morning : 2 X 45min Research talks + open session of questions (Fleur Visser, Alec Burslem).


13:00-15:30 Afternoon: Oral presentations of scientific papers, 15 min per presentations (10 min presentation and 5 min questions, 2 students/publication) (I. Charrier & C. Curé).








© Isabelle Charrier

© Charlotte Curé (3S project-baseline cruise)


Organisers: Isabelle Charrier & Charlotte Curé

Tutors: Olivier Adam, Flore Samaran

Confirmed Guests speakers:  Colleen Reichmuth (USA), Alec Burlslem (USA), Paul Wensveen (Iceland), Denise Risch (Scotland), Fleur Visser (The Netherlands).

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