Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) involves detecting and studying animals using the sounds they make. Its use is widespread for cetaceans since they are highly vocal, and are often below the surface. Using sound allows us to detect them even when we cannot see them.
Part of my Masters research project is going to involve using acoustic detections of harbour porpoises. Since I’ve never done any PAM work before this is pretty daunting! On the advice of my supervisor, I decided to attend Seiche Training’s PAM Level 1 course last week in order to get to grips with PAMGuard, one of the most widely used PAM softwares.
Almost a year after completing the ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyor course, yesterday I was able to volunteer on my first survey, ‘looking out for whales and dolphins’ on the Brittany Ferries route between Plymouth, UK, and Roscoff, France.
Where better to be on a cold rainy Saturday in November than at Plymouth University Marine Station, learning all about surveying for whales and dolphins! Clearly I’m not the only person who thought so anyway, as the room was packed with marine mammal surveyors to-be.