Passive Acoustic Monitoring training

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) with assistance from Vanishing Point (VP) is pleased to announce that we will be holding a Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) course from April 4 to 9 inclusive on the Beara Peninsula. Classes will be held on the pier in Castletownbere and practical recording sessions will include a short towed array, a drifting hydrophone and a drop down hydrophone with 20 to 24 hours of boat sessions. The object of the course is to learn to detect and record harbour porpoise Very High Frequency (VHF) species, short-beaked common dolphin High Frequency (HF) species and minke whales Low Frequency (LF) species. Topics will be covered in class and classroom session schedule will change depending on weather to avail of best weather windows for boat sessions. Accommodation is not included but assistance will be given where required. Topics to be covered will include:

  1. Introduction to the vocalisations of marine mammals with an emphasis on Ireland.
  2. Introduction to anthropogenic noise sources.
  3. PAM deployment and setup
  4. Setting up a basic PAMguard configuration to monitor for marine mammals. This will include:
    1. Setting up a spectrogram and Radar display
    2. Using Whistle and Moan Detector
    3. Decimator
    4. Click detector
    5. Storage options
    6. Localisation and distance determination
  5. PAMguard Viewer Mode and triggered recording will be introduced but extensive use will not be examined at this time.
  6. Species identification will look at species recorded on boat surveys and will also look at other commonly seen species and discuss how these may be detected and possibly identified to species or species group level.

The Beara area regularly sees aggregations of minke whales in April and low frequency pulse trains associated with these aggregations have been regularly detected in April the last two years, as well as some other vocalisations which while very probably from minke whales have not all  been reliably linked to minke whales in the field yet. The minke whales appear to be feeding on sandeels which attract large numbers of common dolphin and harbour porpoise are frequently seen also. While it is difficult to guarantee cetaceans, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and humpback whales may also be present. Every effort will be made to concentrate gathering acoustics on as many different species as possible and it is hoped that one night time to dawn survey will take place. This area currently appears a very good location to detect and listen to minke whale vocalisations at around this time of year and offers a potentially good opportunity to those who wish to become familiar with minke whale vocalisations., which may be useful for informing future baseline work.

The course is aimed at those involved in mitigation for industry though may be useful to anyone wishing to identify species typically found in inshore waters of the Irish coast in acoustic recordings.

Cost for the course (5 days over a 6 day period with a rest day to be decided) will be : €800 (€770 for IWDG members).

If you have any questions or wish to register for the course please contact Patrick Lyne –

Patrick Lyne – Chartered Marine Scientist



For more information


Registration Click HERE