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"Science may be a career for some, but for most of us it is also a calling, a calling to uncover the beauty that lies hidden in the remarkable biology of organisms..." Dr. Leticia Aviles, Behavioral Ecology Scientist.
Interests: Evolution, Behavior, Conservation
I am an integrative marine biologist with a research focus on sound as a tool to study marine communities and marine mammal communication and behavior. My research involves the use of phylogenies, field observations, autonomous underwater recording systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles to understand the evolutionary and ecological factors shaping marine communities and marine animal communicative signals. My students work on projects including the application of soundscape tools to predict marine biodiversity, humpback whale, dolphin and fish sound emission, impact of underwater noise on marine mammal communication and habitat use, cetacean population dynamics, social structure, genetics, hormones and more.
Video by Paulo Castro. https://peerj.com/articles/6670/
Phone: (802) 656-4138
Lab: 217A MLS Department of Biology, UVM
Research Associate, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, SI.
Lecturer and Research Associate at the Department of Biology, University of Vermont
Program Director of Life Science Scholar
College of Arts and Sciences,
University of Vermont
Research Associate at CIMAR (Centro de Investigacion en Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia), Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Research Associate at Coiba-AIP
Affiliated Professor at Universidad Maritima Internacional de Panama.
Co-Founder of Panacetacea.org
Member of the Committee of Scientific Advisers for The Society for Marine Mammalogy
Scientific Adviser to MI AMBIENTE, Government of Panama
Co-Founder of SOCECAM
Reaching the communities were we work
Recordings from our ONDAS project featured in Costa Rica to celebrate Whale Day!
Undergraduate and Graduate students in the lab
Adriana Arce, graduate student at University of Costa Rica installing a new underwater recorder in Cano Island. This project is part of a regional collaboration with Panamanian, Costa Rican, and US Scientists studying northern and southern humpback whale songs and the acoustic space of these migratory animals (Photo by Ronald Monge)
This summer a group of 16 UVM undergraduate students participated in my long-term bottlenose dolphin project collecting photo-ID, behavioral, distribution, and acoustic data. Several of these students are developing their Honor Thesis on topics ranging from calf mortality, population size, social networks, soundscapes, to acoustic structure of communicative signals of these dolphins. Super exciting for them to work in the field with the dolphins they have been researching in the lab for over a year.
Listening to Nature
Studying marine soundscapes
In partnership with Conservation International Costa Rica, CIMAR-University of Costa Rica, Panacetacea, and the Ministry of Environment (Mi Ambiente) Panama, Dr. May-Collado is leading the project Ondas-Costa Rica and project Acustica Panama which main goal is to document the marine biodiversity using sound as a cue for species richness. The project also seeks to understand the impact of increasing noise levels associated to boat traffic to migratory species like humpback whales, and resident species of dolphins and fish. The project uses three models of underwater acoustic recorders to capture the soundscape of three marine habitats and online tools from ARBIMON II to catalog and analyze the information. For more information go to Project Ondas/Project Acustica.
Collaborative initiative with Panacetacea, MI AMBIENTE and PNUD Panama, Conservation International CR and CIMAR-University of CR
Partnership with Conservation International Costa Rica & CIMAR-UCR
Listen to a humpback whale singing at 2 a.m. on September 20, 2016 near Isla del Cano, Costa Rica.
Studying dolphin acoustic response to dolphin watching boats
I am co-advising graduate student Betzy Perez (McGill-STRI). She is studying how bottlenose dolphins from Bocas del Toro, Panama respond to dolphin watching boats. She is collecting skin samples (Permit MI AMBIENTE #SE-A-75-17) to measure stress hormone levels and deploying two RUDAR-mk2 underwater recorders to study how their acoustic behavior changes throughout the day in two locations that vary on boat traffic.
On the communication of a newly discovered species of river dolphin
Graduate Student Gabriel Melos is studying the acoustic behavior of a newly discovered river dolphin in Brazil. Visit Gabi's blog to learn more about what it takes to develop this kind of research
Photos by Gabriel Melos et al.