Profile

Dr Douglas Gillespie
Researcher


Back in the 1980’s available computers were not powerful enough to process acoustic data in real time. However, with the increased power available since the mid 90’s, it is now possible to develop software that will detect and classify sounds in real time on affordable PC’s.

As computers become ever more powerful, we have been able to develop more sophisticated detectors for more and more species, increasing the range of frequencies we can work at and the number of channels of data that can be processed. Now that we no longer hunger for more processing power, the trend in affordable computing has been for smaller and lower power devices. Indeed, most of us carry a mobile phone containing a processor that is more than capable of carrying out serious amounts of real-time data processing. Much of my current research therefore involves the development of detection systems that can run on low power devices mounted on moored buoys and autonomous vehicles such as submarine gliders. As well as the challenge of making useful detections on a limited power budget, we are also addressing the problem of how to interpret this type of data: for instance, if I hear 10,000 echolocation clicks from my glider, how many animals are there ?

source: symbiosis

Research Overview:

Passive Acoustics

Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is an effective way of detecting many species of cetacean and has an important role in abundance surveys and in detecting cetaceans in the vicinity of certain human activities which may cause harm, such as seismic surveys, military sonar exercises, offshore energy extraction and shipping.

Monitoring the Effects of Offshore Renewables

While offshore renewable energy has the potential to cut carbon emissions, the increased industrialisation of coastal areas may have a detrimental impact on some forms of marine life.

In particular, tidal turbines have the potential to injure or kill marine mammals should they be struck by moving turbine blades. Animals may be also be excluded from areas in which arrays of turbines have been installed.

We are using passive acoustics to study how small cetaceans (harbour porpoise and dolphins) behave in the immediate vicinity of tidal energy devices in order to answer the questions:

  1. Do animals approach operational turbines
  2. Is there any evidence of habitat exclusion
  3. Is there any evidence of fine scale avoidance behaviour in the immediate vicinity of turbine blades

We currently collect data from an operational turbine on the North Coast of Scotland from 12 hydrophones, each sampling at a high data rate of 500kHz. This monitoring program has now been operational for over one year using funds from the Scottish Government Marine Mammal Scientific Research Program.

PAMGuard Software

PAMGuard is open source software for the detection and localisation of marine mammal vocalisations. It is optimised for real time use in the field and has applications both in abundance survey and in mitigation monitoring.  I manage the PAMGuard project and wrote both the core structure of the PAMGuard and many of the detection, localisation and mapping modules within the software.

 

 

Recent publications


7  (of 7 published available) for dg50 with keyword Conservation clear keyword filter. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details.


Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
vol.Early View 
(Article)
Three-dimensional movements of harbour seals in a tidally energetic channel
Gordon Drummond Hastie, Matthew Bivins, Alexander James Coram, Jonathan Charles David Gordon, Pauline Jepp, Jamie Donald John MacAulay, Carol Elizabeth Sparling, Douglas Michael Gillespie 
Keywords: Behaviour, Environmental impact assessment, Mammals, New techniques, Renewable energyNERC
2018
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management
vol.18 pp.103-117
(Article)
Abundance estimates for sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea from acoustic line-transect survey
Tim Lewis, Oliver Boisseau, Magnus Danbolt, Douglas Michael Gillespie, Claire Lacey, Russell Leaper, Justin Matthews, Richard McLanaghan, Anna Moscrop 
Keywords: Sperm whale, Mediterranean sea, Abundance estimate, Distribution, Acoustics, Vocalisation, Conservation, Survey - acoustic, Survey - vessel
2018 (2)
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
vol.28 pp.216-230
(Article)
Cetacean rapid assessment: an approach to fill knowledge gaps and target conservation across large data deficient areas
Gillian Tracey Braulik, Magreth Kasuga, Anja Wittich, Jeremy J Kiszka, Jamie Donald John MacAulay, Douglas Michael Gillespie, Jonathan Charles David Gordon, Said Shaib Said, Philip Steven Hammond 
Keywords: Cetaceans, Distribution, Environmental impact assessement, Management, Marine spatial planning, Rapid assessment, Tanzania
2017 (15/12)
Marine Pollution Bulletin
vol.125 pp.360-366
(Article)
Acoustic monitoring to document the spatial distribution and hotspots of blast fishing in Tanzania
Gillian Tracey Braulik, Anja Wittich, Jamie Donald John MacAulay, Magreth Kasuga, Jonathan Charles David Gordon, Tim Davenport, Douglas Michael Gillespie 
Keywords: Explosives, Destructive fishing, Acoustic monitoring, Tanzania, Resource management, Fisheries managementEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2015 (1)
Methods in Ecology and Evolution
vol.6 pp.38-48
(Article)
2014 (2)
Biological Conservation
vol.170 pp.338-339
(Letter)
Large scale surveys for cetaceans
Philip Steven Hammond, Douglas Michael Gillespie, Philip Lovell, Filipa Isabel Pereira Samarra, Kelly Macleod, Mark L Tasker, Per Berggren, David Louis Borchers, M Louise Burt, Charles G. M. Paxton, Ana Canadas, Genevieve Desportes, Greg P Donovan, Anita Gilles, Kristina Lehnert, Ursula Siebert, Jonathan Charles David Gordon, Russell Leaper, Mardik Leopold, Meike Scheidat, Nils Oien, Vincent Ridoux, Emer Rogan, Henrik Skov, Jonas Teilmann, Olivier Van Canneyt, Jose Antonio Vazquez 
Keywords: Line transect sampling, Survey design, Abundance estimation, Cetacean, Conservation, EU Habitats Directive
2013 (8)
Biological Conservation
vol.164 pp.107-122
(Article)
Cetacean abundance and distribution in European Atlantic shelf waters to inform conservation and management
Philip Steven Hammond, Kelly Macleod, Per Berggren, David Louis Borchers, M Louise Burt, Ana Cañadas, Genevieve Desportes, Greg P Donovan, Anita Gilles, Douglas Michael Gillespie, Jonathan Charles David Gordon, Lex Hiby, Iwona Kuklik, Russell Leaper, Kristina Lehnert, Mardik Leopold, Philip Lovell, Nils Øien, Charles G. M. Paxton, Vincent Ridoux, Emer Rogan, Filipa Isabel Pereira Samarra, Meike Scheidat, Marina Sequeira, Ursula Siebert, Henrik Skov, Mark Tasker, Jonas Teilmann, Olivier Van Canneyt, José Antonio Vázquez 
Keywords: Conservation status, North Sea, Line transect sampling, SCANS, Harbour porpoise, Bottlenose dolphin, Common dolphin, White-beaked dolphin, Minke whale, Bycatch, Habitats Directive

Contact Details:

Dr Douglas Gillespie
Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB
Fife
UK

tel: 01334 462663
fax:
room:
email: dg50@st-andrews.ac.uk

Related:

research@st-andrews
PAMGuard Software
Sea Mammal Research Unit
School of Biology
Scottish Oceans Institute

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