ICES Annual Science Conference

9–12 September 2024 in ​Gateshead, UK.

The deadline for abstract submission is 22 March 2024.

You are invited to submit an abstract to the session...

“From Echoes to Ecology – The application of active acoustics beyond biomass estimates”

While this session is focused on the use of active acoustics to provide ecological insight, we are also keen to hear from researchers whose work is complementary to the deployment and interpretation of acoustic data. We want to highlight emerging autonomous platforms and low-carbon technologies for interdisciplinary environmental monitoring, from oceanography to ecology. 

This session is for you if you are a fisheries acoustician, marine ecologist, biogeochemist or molecular biologist; if you use active acoustics to understand marine environments; or use techniques from eDNA to passive acoustic monitoring that can be used in combination with active acoustic data to provide ecological insight. 

Full details below. If you have any questions or you are not sure if your work fits into our theme, please do get in touch or help spread the word!

Tracey and Abbie,

Session: From Echoes to Ecology – The application of active acoustics beyond biomass estimates

Since the early 20th century echosounders have developed from simple systems used for depth sounding to sophisticated multi-frequency systems that are routinely used in global fish stock assessments. While stock assessments are essential to ensure our sustainable use of the ocean, echosounder data have the potential to provide considerable insight into ecosystem function beyond biomass estimations.

Given the combined pressures of exploitation and climate change on marine ecosystems, it has never been more pressing to understand how ecological communities will respond to rapid environmental changes. Novel active acoustic techniques, when augmented with additional emerging technology, provide opportunities to assess environmental and ecosystem functioning simultaneously, across a variety of disciplines.

This session will showcase the use of echosounders to provide insights into global marine ecosystems beyond standard stock assessment, and will explore the practical application of emerging technologies and complementary techniques to improve ecological understanding.

Three main topics will be discussed during the session:

1) Ecological and environmental insights: the application of acoustic data to monitor changes in oceanic processes and habitats, study organism behaviour and understand the effects of environmental change on ecological communities and trophodynamics.

2) Optimising acoustics with interdisciplinary science: exploring the use of emerging and complementary techniques to support acoustic data and understand ecological processes. Technologies, including optical profilers, camera systems, passive acoustic monitoring, and molecular techniques such as eDNA, hold huge potential to improve ecological insight than acoustic data alone.

3) Autonomous and low-carbon technologies: the opportunities and challenges of using alternative bioacoustic platforms such as autonomous underwater and surface vehicles, fixed moorings, towed arrays, and automated processing to assist in ongoing ecological monitoring.


This session aims to establish an interdisciplinary connection between fisheries acousticians and environmental scientists. We encourage participation from non-acoustic fields, and welcome submissions from early career scientists to established professionals.