I am a third year University student from London (UK), studying Biological Sciences (MSci) at the University of Birmingham. I joined the Marine Mammal Research team at Archipelagos because I love fauna and have a passion for conservation!

My research specialises in Marine Bioacoustics, focussing on the effect of boat presence and anthropogenic noise on the whistle characteristics of Delphinus delphis (Short-beaked Common Dolphin) in the North-Eastern Aegean Sea. I joined for 8 months between September 2019 and May 2020, hoping to produce contemporary results that will expand our understanding of the influence of humans on dolphin acoustic behaviour, a field that is very lacking, so that conservation strategies can be implemented.

As a member of the Bioacoustics Team, I attend as many boat surveys as I can in order to set up the Hydrophone, listen to sounds and record acoustic data, as well as survey for Cetaceans and collect data on marine litter, sea-birds and environmental variables. We use real time Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) method to detect and record cetacean sound production using a four-channel Towed Hydrophone Array. Environmental data is also collected throughout surveys including boat presence.

Following a boat survey with sightings, I download the audio recordings onto my laptop and use Raven Pro 1.5 software in order to visually and aurally analyse whistle parameters, including peak frequency, peak power, whistle shape, duration and many more. I am also able to analyse clicks and burst-pulses. These data can be compared between sightings in the presence of boats and those without boats in order to improve our current understanding of the effect of anthropogenic activity on the communication of Cetacean species. This can be used hand-in-hand with other research in order to improve the conservation status of D. delphis, as well as other species.

Asides from Marine Bioacoustics, I also love to help out with other research projects here at Archipelagos! During the week, I will usually take part in Macro-plastics surveys and land surveys. I thoroughly enjoy conducting field research, especially boat surveys, as there is never a dull moment and they provide me with the opportunity to use a variety of new equipment and collect scientific data – skills I can use for my future career in Conservation.

Emily Bingham
Student of Biological Sciences (MSci), University of Birmingham
On-site intern at Archipelagos’ Marine Mammal Research team