Dr Douglas Gillespie


tel. 01334 462663

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 ?



Malinka, CE, Gillespie, DM, Macaulay, JDJ, Joy, R & Sparling, CE 2018, 'First in situ passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals during operation of a tidal turbine in Ramsey Sound, Wales' Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol 590, pp. 247-266. DOI: 10.3354/meps12467
Braulik, GT, Kasuga, M, Wittich, A, Kiszka, JJ, MacAulay, J, Gillespie, D, Gordon, J, Said, SS & Hammond, PS 2018, 'Cetacean rapid assessment: an approach to fill knowledge gaps and target conservation across large data deficient areas' Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, vol 28, no. 1, pp. 216-230. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2833
Verfuss, UK, Gillespie, D, Gordon, J, Marques, TA, Miller, B, Plunkett, R, Theriault, JA, Tollit, DJ, Zitterbart, DP, Hubert, P & Thomas, L 2018, 'Comparing methods suitable for monitoring marine mammals in low visibility conditions during seismic surveys' Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol 126, pp. 1-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.10.034
Braulik, G, Wittich, A, MacAulay, J, Kasuga, M, Gordon, J, Davenport, TRB & Gillespie, D 2017, 'Acoustic monitoring to document the spatial distribution and hotspots of blast fishing in Tanzania' Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol 125, no. 1-2, pp. 360-366. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.09.036
MacAulay, JDJ, Gordon, JCD, Gillespie, DM, Malinka, CE & Northridge, SP 2017, 'Passive acoustic methods for fine-scale tracking of harbour porpoises in tidal rapids' Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol 141, no. 2, pp. 1120-1132. DOI: 10.1121/1.4976077
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Dr Douglas Gillespie
Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB

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