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International Bioacoustics Council
International Bioacoustics Council (IBAC)

IBAC homepage

The International Bioacoustics Council (IBAC) was founded in Århus, Denmark, in September 1969. Its objective is to promote international participation throughout the entire field of bioacoustical activity. Its primary achievement since then has been the organising of twenty bioacoustic symposia and congresses in twelve different countries. For further information about IBAC's origins, read the brief history; you can also find details of past and future meetings.

The subject of bioacoustics is principally a marriage between the fields of biology and physical acoustics. Given its multidisciplinary nature, IBAC aims to bring together, in informal settings, biologists from different specialisms (ethologists, physiologists, taxonomists, etc) with engineers, sound archivists and amateur sound recordists, to foster discussion and exchange of ideas.


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What is bioacoustics?

Bioacoustics is the scientific study of biological sounds. It is concerned with the following topics:

  • Sound production in animals, including anatomy and neurophysiological processes
  • Sound propagation in water and air
  • Vibrational communication of insects
  • Biosonar or echolocation of bats and dolphins
  • Ultrasonic signals (>20,000 Hz) of insects, rodents, bats and dolphins
  • Infrasonic signals (<20 Hz) of large mammals
  • Sound reception capabilities and mechanisms of animal hearing
  • Ethology of animal acoustic communication
  • Evolution, ontogeny and development of acoustic behaviour
  • Relationships between animal sounds and their environment
  • Effects of man-made sounds on animals
  • Application of acoustic signals for taxonomic studies and for calibrating biodiversity
  • Practical bioacoustic applications, in wildlife monitoring and in pest control

The development of bioacoustics dates effectively from the 1950s, when practical recording and analysing methods became readily available to the scientific community.


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Website updated: 24 July 2020

Website: Richard Ranft. Logo design: Masayo Soma. From 1996-2005 the IBAC website was hosted by
the Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali (CIBRA), Pavia, Italy.

Animal images courtesy of: Christina Sommer (Arabian babbler Turdoides squamiceps, Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos chicks), Richard Ranft (Tiger Panthera tigris, Eurasian Badger Meles meles, Dark Bush Cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera, European Starling Sturnus vulgaris, Masked Treefrog Smilisca phaeota, fish), Cheryl Tipp (Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula, Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, European Robin Erithacus rubecula, Squirrel monkey Saimiri sp.)

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