A Wail in the Ocean

Akrotiri dolphins

Akrotiri dolphins

The May talk will be given by Professor Paul White, director of the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton who holds a chair in Statistical Signal Processing. Paul will be talking about his research into sound and cetaceans.

Sound plays a vital role in the life of whales and dolphins (cetaceans). They use it to explore and understand their environment and to interact socially. As humanity extends its activities more and more into the oceanic environment, we make the seas noisier places. The impact of this additional noise on cetaceans is poorly understood, but has been shown, in a small number of instances, to be directly implicated in cetacean strandings. This talk will discuss the role sound plays in the life of cetaceans and discusses what we know of the impact man-made sounds can have on these charismatic creatures.

His research areas have included signal processing in underwater acoustics, condition monitoring and biomedicine. The primary focus has always been in underwater acoustics, including research into the area of bioacoustics, mainly the detection, classification and localisation of marine mammals. He has studied the vocal behaviour of sperm whales, classification of humpback whale songs and detection and classification of delphinids via their whistles. He is also working on the impact of anthropogenic noise, particularly from shipping.