Ben Gottesman

Ben Gottesman Profile Picture
Home Department:
Forestry & Natural Resources

Mentor / Lab:
Bryan Pijanowski

Specific Research Area / Project:
Soundscape Ecology / Soundscapes as Indicators of Biodiversity and Environmental Change

Undergraduate Institution:
Wesleyan University
Lab / Personal work-related websites:

Research Profile:

I am titillated by squawks, highly concerned with buzzes, and don’t even get me started on howls.

My graduate work here at Purdue focuses on using the sounds of nature to study how places change over time, specifically on how human activities are impacting global biodiversity. Through advancing knowledge and new technologies, we—as researchers—have an unprecedented ability to assess these changes, which will enable us to make strides in conservation and reduce our ecological footprint.

Audio recordings taken from remote, biodiverse hotspots is one of the only ways to capture long-term, meaningful data about some of the most biodiverse environments. I am currently working with agencies like the National Park Service to implement these types of acoustic monitoring programs. Our goal is to use these recordings to manage natural resources, and also assess environmental impacts of industry in places that are difficult to survey, like Caribbean coral reefs and Colombian rainforests.

Ben Gottesman Research Picture

About Me:

One of the reasons I came to Purdue University was for the opportunity to travel all around the world. Mongolia, Costa Rica, Denali—these are some of the areas where my advisor regularly travels for his research. And while there is no greater feeling than recording a Madagascar chorus of lemurs, or the cacophonous cries of 500,000 Sandhill cranes on the Platte River, NE, one of my favorite parts of Purdue is how international it is right on campus. My closest friends are from Colombia, Romania, India, China, Haiti, Germany, and the list goes on. I’ve had Indiana corn, but usually in the form of arepas, tamal, and ajiaco. This has been the most surprising, and also my favorite, aspect of being a grad student at Purdue.


  • 2015 PCCRC Travel Grant, 2014 Lynn Fellowship, 2013 Sonoran Desert
  • Workshop Grant Recipient, 2012 Rausch Fellowship Recipient, 2011 Valand University Artist Fellowship Recipient


  • This summer I lead two weeklong soundscape summer camps with my lab partner MaryAm Ghadiri. I’ll continue my work with kids through partnering with the Hands of the Future, a local Tippecanoe organization providing free nature programs for kids. I also enjoy performing my music that combines nature field recording with weird rock songs. So far I’ve played at ESE and Center for Global Soundscape events, and will be seeking artist residencies this coming year to explore some more sound installation projects. Check out my Soundcloud page for future works.Fish Dusk Chorus: Just like birds, many fish sing at night in order to attract mates. You can see the fish singing here in this spectrogram. Their low grunts are represented by the green at the bottom of the figure, while the snaps of pistol shrimps show up as the green vertical slashes. The ocean is a very noisy place.


  • “Hear the Burn: Analyzing the Impact of Wildfire on the Animal Community in the Chiricahua National Monument,” SeaBASS Summer Bioacoustic Workshop, June 2016.
  • “Using Soundscape Analysis to Determine Songbird and Orthoptera Niche Selection in Nebraska Prairie Reserves,” FNR Poster Competition, Purdue University, April 2016.
  • “Soundscape Monitoring as a Tool For Conservation in Marine Environments,” Oral presentation, National Park Service, Denver, CO June 2015
  • “Sound Visualization Methods and the Sonic Timelapse,” Oral presentation, Global Sustainable Soundscapes Network, Grand Island, NE July 2015
  • “The Role of Art and Music in Communicating Science,” Oral presentation, Science Communication Conference, Oracle, AZ July 2015.

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