Dr. Lars Kindermann, Alfred Wegener Institut, Bremerhaven

                               V O R T R A G

Oesterreichisches Forschungsinstitut fuer Artificial Intelligence(OFAI) der OSGK
Freyung 6/6, A-1010 Wien
Tel: +43-1-5336112-17,  Fax: +43-1-5336112-77, Email: sec@ofai.at

Dr. Lars Kindermann
Alfred Wegener Institut fÃŒr Polar und Meeresforschung in Bremerhaven.
Mehrere Expeditionen in die Arktis und Antarktis.
PI des Akustik Observatoriums der Neumayer Station, Antarktis.


The Southern Ocean hosts one of the most diverse underwater soundscapes
of earth. The dynamics of the cryosphere i.e. sea ice, glaciers and
icebergs provide unique acoustic conditions. During polar winter, the
snow covered sea ice shields the ocean from atmospheric influences,
suppresses the creation of waves and resembles an almost perfect
acoustic absorber, thus creating one of the quietest environments of all
oceans. On the other hand, large table icebergs, calved from the
enormous ice sheet of the Antarctic continent, are the largest moving
objects on earth and can accumulate kinetic energy in the terajoule
range when driven by circumpolar currents. This energy is eventually
released when these giants collide - events that create some of the
loudest sounds on earth which can be detected thousands of kilometres
away. However, these are singular events. Typically, the acoustic
environment is dominated by the vocalizations of about 10 species of
seals and whales.

From 2005 till 2014 the autonomous PALAOA observatory on the Eckström
ice shelf, an acoustic hydrophone array deployed through bore holes into
the ocean under a 100m thick ice sheet produced almost a decade of
continuous underwater audio recordings. They are collected in the
PANGAEA data centre of the Alfred Wegener Institute and are published
under open access license.

Most remarkable, a permanent chorus of blue whales represents the
dominant peak of the whole acoustic spectrum, audible during every
single minute of the year. The second largest source of acoustic energy
has just recently been identified by us as Antarctic Minke whales -
which became famous as the main target of today’s controversially
discussed "scientific whaling". The PALAOA recordings in fact contain
tenth of thousands of hours of the strange vocalizations of these
elusive animals.

Very little is known about their ecology yet, even estimates of their
population size differ between 300.000 and 1.2 million. The current
"research", based on killing annually about 800 of these animals, did
not produce many significant results yet. Our hope is that the acoustic
records contain a wealth of information about the whales, possibly
allowing to study sensory physiology, behaviour, communication and
migration patterns - without even having to look at them. So we aim to
develop methods based on machine learning and automated reasoning to
explore this enormous amount of data.


Time: Thursday, 19th February 2015, 6.30 p.m. sharp

Location:  Oesterreichisches Forschungsinstitut
fuer Artificial Intelligence, OFAI
Freyung 6, Stiege 6, 1010 Wien


Univ.-Prof. Ing. Dr. Robert Trappl