Dr Douglas Gillespie


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 ?

source: symbiosis


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
Suberg, L, Wynn, RB, Kooij, JVD, Fernand, L, Fielding, S, Guihen, D, Gillespie, D, Johnson, M, Gkikopoulou, KC, Allan, IJ, Vrana, B, Miller, PI, Smeed, D & Jones, AR 2014, 'Assessing the potential of autonomous submarine gliders for ecosystem monitoring across multiple trophic levels (plankton to cetaceans) and pollutants in shallow shelf seas' Methods in Oceanography, vol 10, pp. 70-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.mio.2014.06.002
Hammond, PS, Gillespie, DM, Lovell, P, Samarra, FIP, Swift, RJ, Macleod, K, Tasker, ML, Berggren, P, Borchers, DL, Burt, ML, Paxton, CGM, Canadas, A, Desportes, G, Donovan, GP, Gilles, A, Lehnert, K, Siebert, U, Gordon, JCD, Leaper, R, Leopold, M, Scheidat, M, Oien, N, Ridoux, V, Rogan, E, Skov, H, Teilmann, J, Van Canneyt, O & Vazquez, JA 2014, 'Large scale surveys for cetaceans: line transect assumptions, reliability of abundance estimates and improving survey efficiency – A response to MacLeod' Biological Conservation, vol 170, pp. 338-339. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.01.016
Hastie, GD, Gillespie, DM, Gordon, JCD, MacAulay, JDJ, McConnell, BJ & Sparling, CE 2014, Tracking technologies for quantifying marine mammal interactions with tidal turbines: pitfalls and possibilities. in M Shields & A Payne (eds), Marine Renewable Energy Technology and Environmental Interactions. Humanity and the Sea, Springer Science and Business Media, Dordrecht. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-8002-5_10
Hammond, PS, Macleod, K, Berggren, P, Borchers, DL, Burt, ML, Cañadas, A, Desportes, G, Donovan, GP, Gilles, A, Gillespie, DM, Gordon, JCD, Hiby, L, Kuklik, I, Leaper, R, Lehnert, K, Leopold, M, Lovell, P, Øien, N, Paxton, CGM, Ridoux, V, Rogan, E, Samarra, FIP, Scheidat, M, Sequeira, M, Siebert, U, Skov, H, Swift, RJ, Tasker, M, Teilmann, J, Van Canneyt, O & Vázquez, JA 2013, 'Cetacean abundance and distribution in European Atlantic shelf waters to inform conservation and management' Biological Conservation, vol 164, pp. 107-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.04.010
Sveegaad, S, Teilmann, J, Berggren, P, Mouritsen, K, Gillespie, DM & Tougaard, J 2011, 'Acoustic surveys confirm the high-density areas of harbour porpoises found by satellite tracking' ICES Journal of Marine Science, vol 68, no. 5, pp. 929-936.
Yack, TM, Barlow, J, Roch, MA, Klinck, H, Martin, S, Mellinger, DK & Gillespie, D 2010, 'Comparison of beaked whale detection algorithms' Applied Acoustics , vol 71, no. 11, pp. 1043-1049. DOI: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2010.04.010
Northridge, S, Gordon, J, Booth, C, Calderan, S, Cargill, A, Coram, AJ, Gillespie, DM, Lonergan, M & Webb, A 2010, Assessment of the impacts and utility of acoustic deterrent devices. Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum.
Gillespie, DM, Gordon, J, McHugh, R, Mclaren, D, Mellinger, D, Redmond, P, Thode, A, Trinder, P & Deng, XY 2008, 'PAMGUARD: Semiautomated, open source software for real-time acoustic detection and localisation of cetaceans'.
Clark, CW, Gillespie, DM, Nowacek, DP & Parks, SE 2007, Listening to Their World: Acoustics for Monitoring and Protecting Right Whales in an Urbanized Ocean. in S Kraus & RM Rolland (eds), The urban whale: North Atlantic right whales at the crossroads . Harvard University Press, pp. 333-357.
Gillespie, DM, Berggren, P, Brown, S, Kuklik, I, Lacey, C, Lewis, T, Matthews, J, McLanaghan, R, Moscrop, A & Tregenza, N 2005, 'Relative abundance of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from acoustic and visual surveys of the Baltic Sea and adjacent waters during 2001 and 2002' Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, vol 7, no. 1, pp. 51.
Matthews, JN, Brown, S, Gillespie, DM, Johnson, M, McLanaghan, R, Moscrop, A, Nowacek, D, Leaper, R, Lewis, T & Tyack, PL 2001, 'Vocalisation rates of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)' Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, vol 3, no. 3, pp. 271-282.

Contact Details:

Dr Douglas Gillespie
Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: 01334 462663


PAMGuard Software
Sea Mammal Research Unit
School of Biology
Scottish Oceans Institute

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The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443