Biophon SUMMER 1997 Vol. X No. 1
NEWSLETTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL BIOACOUSTICS COUNCIL
EDITED and PRINTED by M. Rebbeck CONTACT ADDRESS Dept. of Industrial Technology, Bradford University,
Phone +44 1274 384242 Fax +44 1274 381333 Bradford,West Yorkshire, BD7 1DP, UK.
Web Edition by G. Pavan, Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali
WELCOME FROM THE CHAIRMAN
The new number of BIOPHON is now available and I feel it will be very important to share information among the European community of bioacousticians.
Since Bioacoustics is becoming more and more important for understanding the behaviour of the animals and their relationships with the environment, a wide interdisciplinary approach is required for facing with all the aspects of Bioacoustics.
Side to side with scientific journals and the new electronic media this newsletter will help in maintaining contacts among all the people now engaged with Bioacoustics.
Now, I look forward to the next occasion to meet all you at the IBAC conference to be held in Texas, for the first time outside of Europe!
The 15th IBAC Symposium at The Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali, The University of Pavia, Italy.
IBAC's fifteenth symposium took place last October in the ancient university town of Pavia, in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Hosted by the university's Bioacoustic Centre, it was judged to be one of the most successful IBAC symposia ever. There were 73 registered participants (including the organising staff), from 11 European countries and from the USA, Canada and Japan.
18 talks and 23 posters were presented over the first two. In typical IBAC tradition, these covered a very wide range of subjects. On the last day, there was a technical demonstration by the Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica of sound analysis equipment, including a new sonograph capable of analysing signals in the ultrasonic frequency range. The abstracts will be published in the Bioacoustics journal but meanwhile they may be read on the WWW at http://www.unipv.it/webcib/absibac.html. At the meeting Biophon was relaunched. Copies may be obtained from Gianni Pavan, from R. Ranft, or viewed on the WWW.
This was followed by the AGM, attended by 31 of the delegates. This was an historic occasion as, after 27 years as Chairman of IBAC, Patrick Sellar handed over the reigns to the organiser of the symposium, Dr. Gianni Pavan. Thierry Aubin replaced E.D.H. Johnson on the IBAC Committee, joining G. Pavan, P. Sellar, Richard Ranft (Hon. Secretary) and S. Wahlstrom. P. Sellar proposed a vote of thanks to E.D.H Johnson for the work he had done for IBAC over the past 27 years. We next debated the venue for the 1997 symposium. G. Pavan began by saying that it was desirable to maintain the informal style and limited size of IBAC symposia. Robert Benson had offered to hold the next meeting at the Texas A&M University. The proposal was welcomed and while there were a number of considerations to weigh over in holding a meeting in the USA, it was agreed to hold the next IBAC meeting in Texas.
The symposium timetable fortunately left plenty of time for mixing with the delegates between the formal programme, culminating in a fine dinner in the old university, when P. Sellar congratulated G. Pavan and his colleagues for organising a successful and enjoyable symposium in Pavia. We were reminded about the discoveries made there by the eighteenth century scientist, Lazaro Spallanzani, on the navigation of bats in the dark. His pioneering experiments were largely ignored by the academic community for over 100 years. Even though he never discovered the sense which bats use to orientate, he managed to rule out sight and touch and laid the way for the discovery of bat sonar in the 1930s. He could perhaps therefore be called the 'forefather of bioacoustics'!
FORTHCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS
THE NEXT IBAC MEETING
IBAC - International Bioacoustics Council
XVI Symposium 1997
Time and Place
There will be two main topic areas with invited speakers to introduce each.
I) Recent advances in Animal Bioacoustics
II) Instrumentation, software, and other
The social programme will include a Conference Dinner on Friday and excursions on Saturday.
Official languages will be English and French
Conference fees will be $50 for senior participants, including refreshments and the Friday Dinner.
For Presentations, Registration or Further Information contact :
Center for Bioacoustics
Tel. (512) 994-5888
The meeting is being supported by the Acoustical Society of America
In the last issue of Biophon we listed seven useful web addresses. This time I will give just two but with a little background for each.
This is the links page of our host for the forthcoming Symposium. It includes all the sites listed in the previous Biophon plus eighteen others and is very quick way to look for useful sources of information.
The Bioacoustics-L mailing list
This mailing list is managed from the Ornithology Department at Cornell University. It has at present about 750 subscribers all over the world and has a truly international flavour. A high proportion of the "chat" is relevant to anyone not expert in Bioacoustics and students frequently ask questions which are answered by experts in other parts of the world. The "chat" is occasionally enlivened by some bizarre but serious requests. However the most useful part is the twelve page document which arrives on subscribing and once a month afterwards.
The first four pages are details about use of the list and it took me several months to find the great wealth of information hidden at the end. These include names, addresses etc. of ten useful journals, eight organisation holding regular conferences, four newsgroups, six mailing lists, ten web sites, and five other addresses of research Laboratories without web sites, nine Sound Archives and six other related web pages. The document finishes with a section on technical information including sites for recorders, microphones, hydrophones, spectrograms programs, other software and general descriptions of equipment and techniques.
To subscribe to the mailing list go to this webpage.
I desperately need more ideas and contributions from you. Very few of you are coming forward with anything. This is your newsletter. Please make use of it.
If there are any meetings in your area please let your local representative and myself know about them. If you have attended any meetings which have had interesting bioacoustic contributions please write us a brief report.
Two issues seem to come up frequently and Biophon seems a good forum for discussion.
The first is the general status of bioacoustics. I have worked in transdisciplinary subjects all my life and love the stimulation which comes from mixing concepts from different disciplines. Unfortunately such mongrel subjects have no pedigree and are always treated with scant respect by both parents. It is no mean achievement to move easily between signal processing, zoology, electronics and computing and experts in these individual fields do not realise the difficulties.
I would like to collect a small number of examples of exceptionally innovative or successful research combining ideas from two or more disciplines. I am sure some of you will be able to think of a particular example.
Does anyone have any other ideas for raising the profile of Bioacoustics generally.
Secondly, at the last IBAC meeting Gianni Pavan suggested it would be useful to know more about sharing sound files and sonograms electronically. As far as sound files go, I know there are a number of conversion files about. I have seen comments about how well or otherwise they work. I know a few people have collected and reviewed the performance of these conversions. Is anyone prepared to share this information? I imagine sonograms are in a different league altogether. As far as I know there are no standard formats and I have not come across any conversions. If I am wrong please enlighten me. Does anyone have any strong ideas about how we should draw up a standard for sonograms so that they are easily translated from one system to another?
The next issue will be in autumn 1997 and is planned for just after the symposium in Texas.
The following people have kindly agreed to act as local contacts. If you know of anyone in your area who may benefit from IBAC or hear of any activities which should be more widely known please get in touch with your local organiser.
PROFESSOR DR MATIJA GOGALA,
DIANA ESCOBAR VICENT,
DR THIERRY AUBIN,
DR GIANNI PAVAN,
PROFESSOR VALERY ILYICHEV,
DR. JAQUES VIELLIARD
DR. POUL HANSEN,
PROFESSOR DR. DEITER WALLSCHLAGER
PROFESSOR YNGVE ESPMARK,
DR. TERUYO OBA
You may remember I asked for suggestions for a logo. Since nobody else was willing to try I have come up with this as a suggestion. I am not very artistic. I am sure some one else can do better.
Please bring or send suggestions (anonymous if you like) to the meeting in Texas. I hope Dr Benson will allow a vote and maybe a prize and this is one competition I really would prefer not to win!