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Underwater bioacoustics (Week 5, 3 ECTS)

In the first part of the module we will review anatomical basis of the production of acoustic signals in fish, and discuss their nature, function and evolution, with a focus on acoustic communication from both emitter and receiver perspectives. Then we will look at the material and methods used to record underwater sound, with a section on signal propagation. In the second part of the module, we will see the principles, methods and applications of underwater eco-acoustic. We will see how we can assess the aquatic biodiversity based on sounds emanating from a variety of species and environments. 

© Clara Amorim & Paulo Fonseca

We will analyse the relationship between eco-acoustics and bioacoustics and review the responses of individuals and communities to anthropogenic noise. We will also discuss the areas for potential future research in eco-acoustics including challenges in species conservation (i.e. use of acoustic tools to manage invasive species).

During the mornings, key theoretical notions will be presented by specialist speakers, while afternoons will be dedicated to practicals. We will review cutting edge methods and tools for the measure and analysis of underwater sounds and for the measurement of biodiversity, including the spatiotemporal sampling strategy. 


Research talks on sound production and reception, acoustic communication, anthropogenic noise and underwater eco-acoustic will expose students directly to current research.


Learning outcomes 

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


1. Record underwater soundscapes and measure biodiversity from soundscapes.

2. Demonstrate a good understanding of tools for analysing underwater acoustic signals and soundscapes. 

3. Demonstrate familiarity with the main issues and current topics relating to sounds production and acoustic communication in fish, eco-acoustics and anthropogenic sounds.














2023 Schedule

Day 1: Monday 9th October 

Morning Lecture (4h CM : 8h30 – 12h30): Eric Parmentier

The different sound production mechanisms in fish and invertebrates. Acoustic communication in fish: nature, function and evolution. 

Afternoon Practical (3h TD: 14h – 17h): Eric Parmentier

Methods to study acoustic communication in fish.


Day 2: Tuesday 10th October

Morning Lecture (4h CM : 8h30 – 12h30): Paulo Fonseca

Presentation of the course. Measure and underwater sound propagation. 

Afternoon Practical (3h TP : 14h – 17h): Paulo Fonseca

Presentation of the material. How to record and measure underwater acoustic signal. 


Day 3: Wednesday 11th October

Morning Practical (3h TP : 9h – 12h): Paulo Fonseca

Presentation of the material. How to record and measure underwater acoustic signal. 

Afternoon Lecture (3h CM : 14h – 17h): Clara Amorim

Fish communication


Day 4: Thursday 12th October

Morning Lecture (3h CM): Lucia Di Ioro

Underwater Eco-acoustic and biodiversity 

Afternoon Practical (3h TD): Lucia Di Ioro

Underwater soundscape analysis. 


Day 5: Friday 13th October 2022

Morning (3h CM): ENES Lab (V. Médoc; T. Turco; W. Wang)

Anthropogenic noise: theory and examples. 

Afternoon: Assessment finalization 



This module will be assessed by a one-hour exam consisting of questions on the different parts of the module.

Organisers and tutors: Marilyn Beauchaud, Vincent Medoc 

Guests tutors: Clara Amorim, Lucia Di Iorio, Paolo Fonseca, Eric Parmentier.

© Marilyn Beauchaud

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