Fall is here, the weather is cooling down, the leaves will soon start changing color, and the ORCAA students are back in class. I’ve spent the past few months collecting fieldwork data, doing extensive literature reviews, and taking over as the Hatfield Student Organization (HsO) social coordinator here in Newport.

However, my last week of summer before officially starting my graduate career was spent attending conferences and networking with others in my field. Last week I was lucky enough to sit on an impact panel for a joint Conference with Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) and Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NMREC) with Barbara Lagerquist to represent Bruce Mate (Director of the Marine Mammal Institute here at Oregon State). Wave energy technology is new and evolving in its applicability, viability, and potential impacts. Very little information is available on environmental effects, and in some cases, no baseline information exists – which is where one of the main goals of my graduate research comes into play! The objective of this workshop was to identify studies that should be conducted to properly determine potential effects from power generating buoys on marine mammals of the Oregon coast, with emphasis on cetaceans, like my study species, the harbor porpoise. Special emphasis was put on the acoustic output from both the installation and operation of wave energy buoys (the two phases could be quite different acoustically), monitoring marine mammal behavior, detection of buoys by cetaceans, and the use of acoustic deterrence devices to prevent cetacean collisions and/or entanglements. Nonetheless, workshop participants included marine mammal biologists, marine acousticians, and representatives from the wave energy industry and regulatory agencies, so it was a great chance for me to Network! And if that wasn’t enough, Hatfield hosted Dr. Jens Koblitz last Thursday, who gave a presentation on Static Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbor Propoise (SAMBAH), which is a multinational project with the primary goal of estimating the abundance and spatial-temporal distribution of the critically endangered Baltic Sea harbor porpoise. Check out the research here!

While spending a week with experts in my field was fun, it is now time to make the transition into the school year! Like most first year graduate students, I’m learning that organizing one’s free time is critical for first year students, and that probably won’t change throughout one’s graduate studies and after. I’m also learning the responsibilities of graduate school seem to be more task oriented then time oriented, and it seems that the designated task for me this quarter is learning programing! However, I am not alone! Fellow ORCAA students, Danielle and Michelle, will be joining me on the journey of learning Matlab. Without a doubt, if you’re at the beginning of your research career in the field of bioacoustics, learning Matlab is certainly one of the most useful things you could possibly learn. But as a first year, first term graduate student, Matlab will be joined with its programing friends R (a statistical computing program) and GIS (a computer system designed to create spatial or geographic data) on my course schedule. Check back next month to get an update on my sanity! 🙂

 While, I’ve had a busy transition from conference season to classes starting up, my alma mater, Purdue University, has been celebrating Homecoming Week, which I was unfortunately able to attend. However, the university decided to send me a message just to let me know it was still thinking of me. As I was commuting to class this morning, I was listening to NPR, and heard that a “soundscape ecologist” has installed microphones around the world so he can capture the planet’s noises. Brian Pijanowski a “soundscape ecologist” at Purdue University, studies how environmental sounds interact, and he believes listening to the world can clue us in to the changing state of the natural world. Pijanowski has spent years traveling the globe and installing microphones everywhere from the rain forests of Borneo and Costa Rica to the Sonoran Desert and the streets of Chicago. His travels are part of an ambitious project in which he will record every sound the planet makes. Soon, sensors in Indiana will go online, and his collection of microphones will record oceans, birdsongs, insects, animals, traffic and every other sound on Earth for a full year. ISNT BIOACOUSTICS WAY COOL?!? You guys can read the full story Here. I couldn’t find yesterday’s podcast, perhaps it isn’t uploaded yet (?), Ill keep an eye out, but here is the first NPR podcast on the research from a few years ago. Finally, the researchers have created a 5-minute time-lapse audio and visual video of a full day’s soundscape where I did my undergraduate fieldwork at the Purdue Wildlife Area in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PB65l9c8NM

 Well ORCAA readers that’s all for now, if anyone needs me Ill be hanging with my best friends, R, GIS, and Matlab. Until next time! Cheers!

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