About Michelle

Hello!  Thank you for taking an interest in my work.  I am a PhD student in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University (OSU) where I work as a graduate researcher with the Oregon State University Research Collective for Applied Acoustics (ORCAA).  I am also affiliated with the OSU/NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies (CIMRS) and work as a research contributor with the Alaska Whale Foundation (AWF). My research is based in acoustic ecology, meaning that I use sound to investigate questions of ecological importance. This includes investigating how marine organisms use acoustic space (vocalizations, percussive sounds, variable sound production) as well as investigating the potential impact of noise on marine mammal species.  I am particularly interested in using bio-acoustics as a tool to further conservation and to assess species resilience to a rapidly changing ocean.

My primary research to-date has focused on humpback whale non-song communication – or social sounds – in Southeast Alaska. I combine passive acoustic monitoring with land-based visual observations in an attempt to learn how humpback whales are utilizing the Southeast Alaskan soundscape,  to gain insight into call use, call function, and acoustic adaptability, as well as to assess the impact of vessel noise on humpback whale vocal behavior. I completed my M.S. in Marine Resource Management within OSU’s College of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.  View my M.S. thesis “Social calling behavior of Southeast Alaskan humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): classification and context” here. My dissertation research is conducted in Glacier Bay National Park, Southeast Alaska.  Additional research experience includes acoustic detection of marine mammals in the Beaufort Sea, boat based fluke ID for humpback whales in Southeast Alaska and Maui, as well as both marine and terrestrial based acoustic ecology projects along the Oregon Coast and in the Willamette Valley.

I feel strongly about student involvement in research and the responsibility of science to share and disseminate information.  To this end I’ve developed and supervised numerous internship programs through the Alaskan Whale Foundation and  through Oregon State University, as well as dedicate my time whenever possible to teaching, public lecturing, master class appearances, and furthering the goal of connecting people of all ages with the ocean through art, media, and nature.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

~Michelle Fournet

michelle.fournet@gmail.com

(907) 723-2752

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