Research Scientist

Dr. Yack has over 20 years of experience studying marine mammal bioacoustics and ecology. She holds a B.Sc. in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami (2000) and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California-Davis (2012). Her research interests center around utilizing innovative techniques and methods to address conservation and management needs for cetacean species.

Her work has included, acoustic based density estimation, habitat modeling, and density surface modeling, design and fabrication of hydrophone arrays for use in marine and terrestrial environments, development of whistle and echolocation click automated detectors and classifiers using PAMGuard software, as well as marine and terrestrial noise monitoring and impact assessment

Her dissertation work focused on the development and use of automated acoustic detection techniques as a tool for studying beaked whale distribution. This work resulted in the first acoustic-based habitat models for beaked whales. After completing her PhD, Dr. Yack worked as a post-doctoral researcher for NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. She worked at Bio-Waves Inc. as a Sr. Research Scientist and the Managing Director of Scientific Projects from 2006 – 2016.

In 2016, Dr. Yack started her own woman owned consultancy business, EcoSound Bioacoustics, LLC, where she has worked on a diverse array of projects for clients, including working in support of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authorities’ ECHO program to process acoustic data and identify Southern Resident Killer Whale encounters (SMRU-North America & JASCO), Mark-Recapture Abundance Estimation of Antillean Manatees in Rio Changuinola and Rio San San, Boca Del Toro, Panama (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute), and detection of North Atlantic Right Whales in Cape Cod Bay (Cornell University). Dr. Yack has extensive expertise with developing acoustic technology for marine mammal monitoring, GIS applications, as well as using passive acoustic data in density and abundance estimation and density surface models.

Key Projects have includedAcoustic Based Habitat Models for Sperm Whales in the Mariana Islands Region, Examining Changes in Vocal Behavior in Relation to Navy Sonar,Acoustic Based Density  Estimates of Beaked Whales and Sperm Whales in the Gulf of AlaskaDevelopment of Automated Click and Whistle Classifiers for the Temperate Pacific, Hawaii, and Atlantic regionsSperm Whale Vocal Behavior in the Northwest Atlantic OceanDevelopment of a Killer Whale Ecotype Classifier, Development of statistical methods for examining relationships between odontocete vocal behavior and navy sonar signals.

Select Publications and Technical Reports

Yack, T. M., Harris D., Norris, T.N., Thomas, L., Coates, S. and Rone, B.L.   2021.  From clicks to counts Using passive acoustic monitoring to estimate the density and abundance of Cuvier’s beaked whales in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA).  In prep

Harris, D., Thomas, L. Matias, L., and Yack, T.M.  2021.  Dealing with depth: adapting distance sampling methods to estimate densities of diving marine mammals using passive acoustic recordings.  TheJournal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics.  In prep.

Fleming, A. H., Yack, T., Redfern, J. V., Becker, E. A., Moore, T. J., & Barlow, J. 2018. Combining acoustic and visual detections in habitat models of Dall’s porpoise. Ecological Modelling384, 198-208.

Norris, T. F., Dunleavy, K. J., Yack, T. M. and Ferguson, E. L. 2017.  Estimation of minke whale abundance from an acoustic line transect survey of the Mariana Islands. Mar Mam Sci, 33: 574–592. doi:10.1111/mms.12397

Yack, T. M., T. F. Norris, and N. Novak. 2016. Acoustic Based Habitat Models for Sperm Whales in the Mariana Islands Region (Submitted to Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific under Contract No. N62742-14-D-1863). Arlington, VA: Bio-Waves, Inc.

Yack, T. M.   2013.  The development of automated detection techniques for passive acoustic monitoring as a tool for studying beaked whale distribution and habitat preferences in the California current ecosystem.  University of California-Davis.  PhD Dissertation.

Yack, T.M., Barlow, J., Calambokidis, J., Southall, B. and Coates, S.  2013.  Identification of Previously Unknown Beaked Whale Habitat in the Southern California Bight using a Towed Hydrophone Array.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.   134(3), pp. 2589-2595

Baumann-Pickering*, Yack, T.M*, Barlow, J., Wiggens, S., and Hildebrand, J.  2013.  Description of Baird’s Beaked Whale Echolocation Signals.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.  133(6), pp. 4321-4331. 

Baumann-Pickering , S., McDonald, M.A., Simonis, A.E., Solsona Berga, S., Merkens, K P. B. ,Oleson, E. M., Roch, M.A.,Wiggins, S.M. , Rankin, S.M, Yack, T.M., Hildebrand, J.A.  2013.  Species-specific beaked whale echolocation signals.    Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.  134(3): pp. 2293-2301.

Norris T, Martin S, Thomas L, Yack T, Oswald JN, Nosal EM, Janik V. Acoustic ecology and behavior of minke whales in the Hawaiian and Marianas islands: localization, abundance estimation, and characterization of minke whale “boings”. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;730:149-53. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-7311-5_33. PMID: 22278470.

B. Southall, J. Calambokidis, P. Tyack, D. Moretti, A. Friedlaender, S. DeRuiter, J. Goldbogen, E. Falcone, G. Schorr, A. Douglas, A. Stimpert, J. Hildebrand, C. Kyburg, R. Carlson, T. Yack, J. Barlow.  Biological and Behavioral Response Studies of Marine Mammals in Southern California, 2011 (SOCAL-11) Final Project Report, March 2012 

Rankin, S., Baumann-Pickering, S., Yack, T.M., and Barlow, J.  2011.  “Sounds Recorded from Longmans Beaked Whale, Indopacetus pacificus”.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.  130(5): pp.339-344.

Yack TM, Barlow J, Roch MA, Klinck H, Martin S, et al. 2010. Comparison of beaked whale detection algorithms. Applied Acoustics 71: 1043–1049.