Acoustical Ocean Ecology

Kelly Benoit-Bird, Principal Investigator


In the ocean, most resources are heterogeneously distributed and highly dynamic. Our research group focuses on the ecological role of these dynamics in pelagic marine ecosystems.

One key area of interest is how animals in the ocean deal with the complex, ever changing landscape—how they find food while avoiding being dinner themselves.

A related area of study is on the effects of behavior like schooling, cooperation, and other ‘group’ processes on inter-individual and predator-prey interactions.

In order to address complex, four-dimensional problems that occur beneath the water’s surface, a significant emphasis of our efforts is the development and thoughtful application of active acoustic techniques, integration of acoustic technologies (often called sonar—sound navigation and ranging) within novel platforms, and the combination of these tools with other approaches including optical sampling, animal tagging, and behavioral modeling, often as part of interdisciplinary research programs

Through our efforts, we’re contributing to the understanding that patchiness, the variability in resources over space, is critical to how animals from plankton to whales make a successful living.

“… The emerging picture is one of an incalculably complex, finely tuned, and delicate interaction between predators and prey, chemistry and light, currents and water column, night and day. Some semblance of this spatial ballet, played in weightless three-dimensional darkness, has likely been part of the oceans since the oceans were brought to life: layers of life gathering in extremely high densities to feed or to avoid being eaten.”
— (Julia Whitty in a story about our work in Mother Jones Magazine)



Upper-ocean systems
Acoustical ocean ecology
Biological oceanography
Global modes of sea surface temperature
Nitrate supply estimates in upwelling systems
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Biogeochemical-Argo Report
Profiling float
Marine microbes
Population dynamics of phytoplankton
Microbial predators
Microbe-algae interactions
Targeted metagenomics
In the news
Upcoming events and lab news
Past talks and presentations
Join the lab
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Interdisciplinary field experiments
Genomic sensors
Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
Respiration studies
Zooplankton biodiversity
Seafloor processes
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Past research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Monitoring instrumentation suite
Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Long-term time series
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
Monterey Canyon: Stunning deep-sea topography revealed
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Research publications