First African Bioacoustics Community Conference Held in Cape Town this December

Have you ever wondered why whales sing, frogs croak or the dog barks? How elephants communicate over massive distances, or whether noise from planes, trains and automobiles bothers animals? Did you know that healthy ecosystems sound different to unhealthy ones? These topics and many more are all covered within the interesting field of bioacoustic science.

Put simply, bioacoustics is the study of sound in nature, covering all aspects of the production, transmission, and reception of sound, as well as the impacts of man-made sounds on animals.

Bioacoustics is a rapidly growing field internationally, but still relatively small in Africa. This exciting scientific field crosses multiple disciplines - behaviour, ecology, physiology, physics, oceanography, statistics and engineering etc.

The African Bioacoustics Community was started by Dr Tess Gridley (SEEC, UCT – see above) in January 2018 as an initiative to build links between researchers working on the topic in Africa. In December 2018 (02nd to 07th) the First African Bioacoustics Community Conference will be held at the University of Cape Town. With over 120 attendees and many top international speakers lined up – the conference is already a success. Although too late to submit a talk – registration is still open to attend, listen and learn about this fascinating field.

The conference will show-case and promote bioacoustic science, enhancing networks and strengthening collaborations. It will promote research currently taking place on our beautiful continent, highlighting areas for research development and provide a forum to explore future collaboration among African states and with partners from further abroad. It will also provide an opportunity for students to network with a wide range of professional scientists including terrestrial and marine field ecologists, oceanographers, behavioral scientists, engineers, and statisticians.

The ABC conference 2018 is hosted by Sea Search Research and Conservation (NPC), the Centre for Statistics in Ecology, the Environment and Conservation (SEEC)and the University of Cape Town. Financial support for student attendance was provided by the American Association of Acoustics.

Two special evening events will be run during the conference which are open to the public

The Impacts of Ocean Noise, 4th December 2018,

17:30 for 18:00 @ The New Lecture Theatre, University of Cape Town

- This evening focuses on the impacts of human-generated noise on wildlife, especially in the marine environment. There are many documented negative effects on marine life and internationally efforts are growing to minimise man-made noise in the ocean. This event will bring together a panel of local and international experts on the subject to present on the latest knowledge in the field, and will centre on the impacts of seismic surveys on marine mammals - building on the recent documentary "Becoming Visible" by Janet Solomon. See attached flyer.

Communicating about Communication, 6th December 2018,

17:30 for 18:00 @ The UCT Club, University of Cape Town

- This evening focuses on bridging the gap between the scientific community, environmental film makers and journalists and the general public. Animal bioacoustics is a broad and fascinating field of research but is not very well known, especially in South Africa. In an effort to improve communication and generate new linkages we have invited speakers from all walks of communication, scientific journalist Wiida Fourie-Basson, science communicator Pavs Pillay, specialist cameraman and scientist Claudio Velasques Rojas, and Cape Town based photographer and business owner Steve Benjamin. We would like ot invite journalists and environmental story tellers to attend the event to meet some of the top local scientists in the field.

Twitter: @ABCommunity2018 #AfricanAcoustics

Source: ABC Conference organising committee

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