Welcome to Dr. Arthur N. Popper's Laboratory of Aquatic Bioacoustics

My research has primarily involved the study of hearing by aquatic organisms. Most work focuses on fishes, although studies have been done with other non-mammalian vertebrates. Our fish studies have focused on various aspects of hearing that range from behavioral investigations to determine what an animal can hear to physiological investigations of the responses of the ear and brain.

The majority of my work is now involved with studies on the effects of human-generated (anthropogenic) sound on aquatic organisms. This has resulted in a series of studies that explored behavioral and physiological effects of increased ambient sounds on fish. These studies have asked about effects of seismic air-guns, pile driving, and general increases in background sound levels on fish hearing and physiology.

Investigations in the past have ranged from basic questions concerning evolution and mechanisms of sound detection, investigations of hearing sensitivity, studies on the anatomy and ultrastructure of the ear, and many other topics (see publications link at left).

Over the past several years, I have been involved in the organization of several international meetings on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life.  Another meeting took place in 2013 in Budapest, while a recent book that I edited with Dr. Anthony Hawkins on the presentations at the 2010 meeting in Cork, Ireland, has been recently published. A book from the Budapest meeting will be forthcoming in 2014.

Recent News

  • I am no longer accepting students or postdocs.

  • I will formally retire from the University of Maryland in June 2014. However, I will remain very active in research and other scholarly activities through collaborations with colleagues around the world. I will also continue my consulting activities.

  • I am now the editor of Acoustics Today, a quarterly magazine of the Acoustical Society of America. Acoustics Today presents articles and news dealing with all aspects of acoustics.
  • I am also co-director of Terrapin Teachers, a programt that focuses on increasing the number of college gradautes who go into science and math teaching in high school grades 9-12.


My longtime colleague and friend Dr. Richard Fay and I have recently published their 25th co-authored paper (and 50th book).  The reference is:

Fay, R. R. and Popper, A. N. (2012). Fish hearing:  New perspectives from two “senior” bioacousticians. Brain, Behaviour and Evolution 792:215-217. DOI: 10.1159/000338719 Link


My lab has recently published a series of papers on the effects of pile driving on fishes. The citations and links are below

1.         Halvorsen, M.B., Casper, B.M., Woodley, C.M., Carlson, T.J., and Popper, A.N. (2011).  Predicting and mitigating hydroacoustic impacts on fish from pile installations.  NCHRP Research Results Digest 363, Project 25-28, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. Link

 2.         Halvorsen, M. B., Casper, B. M, Woodley, C. M., Carlson, T. J., and Popper, A. N. (2012). Threshold for onset of injury in Chinook salmon from exposure to impulsive pile driving sounds. PLoS ONE, 7(6) e38968. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038968. Link

3.         Casper, B. M., Popper, A. N., Matthews, F., Carlson, T. J., and Halvorsen, M. B. (2012). Recovery of barotrauma injuries in Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha from exposure to pile driving sound. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e39593. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039593. Link 

4.         Halvorsen, M. B., Casper, B. M., Matthews, F., Carlson, T. J., and Popper, A. N. (2012). Effects of exposure to pile driving sounds on the lake sturgeon, Nile tilapia, and hogchoker. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  279, 4705-4714  doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.154.  Link. 

5.         Casper, B. M., Smith, M. E., Halvorsen, M. B., Sun, H., Carlson, T. J., and Popper, A. N. (2013). Effects of exposure to pile driving sounds on fish inner ear tissues. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, 166:352-360.  Link

6.         Casper, B. M. Halvorsen, M. B., Mathews, F., Carlson, T. J., and Popper, A. N. (2013). Recovery of barotrauma injuries resulting from exposure to pile driving sounds in two sizes of hybrid striped bass. PLoS ONE, 8(9): e73844. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073844 Link 

7.         Popper, A.  N.., Halvorsen, M. B., Casper, B. M, and Carlson, T. J. (2013). U. S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Headquarters, Herndon, VA. Effects of Pile Sounds on Non-Auditory Tissues of Fish. OCS Study BOEM 2012-105. 60 pp. Link - reference OCS Study BOEM 2012-105

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Webpage design copyright of Information Systems Solutions. Laboratory logo and all content on webpage copyright of Dr. Arthur N. Popper, affilated laboratory personnel, and/or the University of Maryland at College Park. Last updated January 22, 2012.