About the Lab

Hello!  Thank you for taking an interest in my work and our lab.  I head the Marine Bioacoustics and Behavior Lab (“Sea BABEL”) at the University of New Hampshire where I am a Visiting Assistant Professor in Acoustic Ecology in the Department of Biological Sciences. I also serve as the Associate Director for Education for the UNH Center for Acoustics Research and Education (CARE) and as the director of the Sound Science Research Collective (Sound Science), a conservation non-profit based on bioacoustics research.

As a marine acoustic ecologist, I use sound to investigate questions of ecological importance in the aquatic environment. This includes investigating how marine organisms use sound to facilitate vital life functions (animal communication), as well as investigating the potential impact of noise and climate change on marine species (anthropogenic impacts), and how sound can be used as an indicator of ecosystem health (acoustic indicators).  I am particularly interested in using bioacoustics as a tool to further conservation and to assess species’ resilience to a rapidly changing ocean. My research interests are broad, ranging from marine mammal communication to restoration acoustics with fishes.

I do not currently have funding for graduate students, however independent students with fellowships or projects they’d like to propose via grant fundings are welcome to reach out to me. I take students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Marine Biology through the Department of Biological Sciences at UNH. I also consider driven honor’s thesis students at UNH.  As a lab we are:

  • Committed to cultivating a kind and equitable scientific culture within and beyond the lab
  • Interested in marine bioacoustics, conservation, behavior and quantitative methods (statistics, R)
  • Committed to anti-racist practices, tangible diversity and inclusion efforts, and decolonizing science

Applying to graduate school is a big step, and I do not recommend it for all (or even most) students. I rarely take graduate students without at least 1 year of post bachelor’s experience, and find that students with a demonstrated record of independent thought may find a productive and happy space with my lab.

Prospective graduate students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with my research (google scholar page here). Though my specialty is in humpback whale communication, I encourage prospective students to consider research beyond that topic. Highly motivated students with an interest in high-latitude research may be a particularly good fit. Strong written and oral communication, intellectual and academic independence, and lived experiences are highly valuable.

I strongly recommended that you reach out to me before applying for graduate study so that we can assess fit, and potentially seek external funding prior to your application. Graduate work is typically funded through a combination of fellowships, research positions, and teaching assistantships.

I get a lot of emails from prospective students, I ask for your patience with my reply.

~Michelle Fournet