By means of passive acoustics we exploit the sonic richness of an aquatic environment (the soundscape) to describe the structure, study the functioning, the state and dynamics of an ecosystem facing environmental changes. We conduct a multidisciplinary research that clearly integrates the young discipline of Soundscape Ecology and is based on the combination of two research axes:
From underwater soundscapes to environmental knowledge
Our research aims at using aquatic soundscapes as an environmental proxy for the study of marine ecosystems.
The acoustic interpretation of soundscapes
In situ acoustic monitoring often implies the acquisition of high-temporal, long-term data sets resulting in huge amount of non selective data. Only the development of specific algorithms and data processing enables the description, decomposition and quantification of complex underwater soundscapes into environmental acoustic descriptors. One of the main research axes is the development of signal processing tools to interpret acoustic data as well as methods to translate sounds into ecologically relevant information.
The ecological interpretation of soundscapes
The processed data is used to study ecologically relevant questions in marine biology. The environmental acoustic descriptors allow an integrative characterization of an ecosystem since dealing with the biological, abiotic and anthropogenic contribution of a soundscape. In our research we study and quantify each component of a soundscape, their spatio-temporal variability and their interactions in terms of organsims’ relationships and responses to natural and anthropogenic changes.
The development of advanced signal processing tools to decompose and analyse complex underwater soundscapes (and their components) and eventually define environmental acoustic descriptors.
The use of the acoustic descriptors as environmental proxies to study spatio-temporal soundscape variations, organism-environment relationships (e.g., responses to environmental differences or changes). Application to polar and temperate and tropical coastal zones.