Christopher Willes Clark

Christopher W. Clark, bioacoustic researcher

Christopher W. Clark is an engineer and biologist. He is the founding director and Imogene Johnson Senior Scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University. He is also a senior scientist at the university’s Department of Neurobiology & Behavior. When asked what he does, his answer is simple: “I listen to this singing planet!”

Clark’s research concentrates on animal acoustic communication with a particular interest in the application of advanced acoustic technologies for scientific conservation of endangered species. Chris has pioneered ocean listening systems for studying whales and the influences of sonar, shipping noise and offshore energy activities on marine mammals at both local and ocean-basin scales. What has evolved through this process is an ecologically based paradigm for evaluating and measuring biological risks from anthropogenic activities at individual and population levels.

Most recently Clark has devoted considerable effort to scientific advocacy through documentary films: Racing Extinction and Sonic Sea, and outreach. He understands that science is part of the answer, but not the answer. Song, whether from a tiny leaf hopper, giant blue whale or human troubadour, is a common truth of life on this planet. We are wise to listen.

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