Dr. Tess Gridley is the co-director of Sea Search, a research organization based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is also a research associate at University of Cape Town and a postdoctoral researcher at University of Stellenbosch. Gridley leads a team of students and interns working on a variety of bioacoustics projects (acoustics concerned with sounds produced by or affecting living organisms, especially as relating to communication) and founded the African Bioacoustics Community. https://africanbioacoustic.wixsite.com/abcommunity

The research undertaken by Sea Search focuses on animal behaviour and acoustic monitoring for conservation applications. Gridley and her team work on a range of species, including Bottlenose Dolphins, Cape Fur Seal and Humpback Whale. The recording work has taken them from uShaka Marine World in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa all the way up to Namibia.

In 2018, they established the ‘noisy bird’ project, which saw them recording Lesser Flamingo, Cape Cormorants and African Sacred Ibis (a bird known for its role in the religion of the Ancient Egyptians and its symbolism of the god Thoth.)

During lockdown, Gridley recorded Egyptian Geese from her back garden and described the repertoire of honks, hisses and other calls.

Using the Shure VP89L Premium Shotgun Microphone, Gridley’s objective is to understand the evolutionary, ecological and cultural factors shaping animal behaviour. She applies novel methodology and statistical analysis to help answer the fundamental ecological questions on individual movement, distribution, density and responses to noise. She is interested in understanding the repertoire of calls made; how calls differ between species, who is calling who, how calls function and more.

The African Bioacoustics Community Conference was held from 2 – 5 November. For more information visit https://africanbioacoustic.wixsite.com/abcommunity.