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Pettingill Endowed Lecture: "Soundscape Ecology: Understanding the Collective Sounds of the Environment"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
4:00 AM
Gates Lecture Hall, UMBS, 9133 Biological Rd., Pellston, MI 49769

In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson forever linked the sounds of the environment with its quality. The emerging field of soundscape ecology aims to understand the ecological properties and significance of sound in the environment, by quantifying the sources and diversity of sound, its patterns over time and space, and the relative influences of landscape structure, climate, and human activities on these patterns. Soundscapes are thus described by their collective sounds, generated not only by natural processes, such as the songs and calls of animals, as well as climatic events (e.g. wind and rain), but also by anthropogenic sounds caused by humans. 

In this talk, Dr. Gill will give an overview of soundscape ecology, by introducing a conceptual framework that dissects the components of soundscapes, and by discussing questions regarding quantification of soundscapes and the exploration of the effects of anthropogenic noise on protected soundscapes and animals.

Dr. Sharon Gill is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University.  Her research focuses on understanding family living in the absence of more complex forms of sociality. Dr. Gill earned her Ph.D. from York University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton University before coming to Western Michigan University.