The diverse and seemingly complex vocalizations of whales and dolphins (cetaceans) have long fascinated people and have led to suggestions of “language”-like communication. We will take a “deep dive” into what is actually known (and not known) about cetacean communication in this course, through readings and discussions of current scientific literature. We will also do hands-on analyses of existing bioacoustic data sets, recorded from a variety of cetacean species, such as blue whales, pilot whales, and several dolphin species. Students will be expected to actively participate in and lead some class discussions. Each student or team of students will choose one aspect of data analysis on which to focus, and will develop that analysis into a research project that will include a final paper in publishable format. In addition, each student or team will present their work to the entire class.
- Teacher: Laela Sayigh