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Welcome to the PAMTech Blog


Here you can keep up to date on what we are up to and read up on how our previous courses have gone.

By macster110, Feb 4 2016 08:57AM

The last weekend in January 2016 saw the PAMTech team at the Vine Trust Barge in Leith, Edinburgh teaching a two-day Advanced PAMGuard course. The Advanced course is the apex predator of PAMTech’s courses: a bit scary, but quite awesome too. It’s a course that involves working with the very latest PAMGuard features (some of which haven’t quite been invented yet…), and getting to grips with PAMGuard’s huge potential for offline analysis and managing big datasets.

Over the time we’ve been teaching this course, it’s been constantly evolving in line with PAMGuard’s progress and ever-increasing capabilities. It now involves seven hefty modules, ranging from analysing porpoise click data collected on a towed stereo hydrophone, to blue whale recordings from Difar sonobuouys; from sperm whale clicks detected on a tetrahedral array to using MATLAB for analysing PAMGuard data. In addition to working with some really interesting, complex datasets provided by us, we’re really excited if participants bring along their own datasets – and their own problems – for us to work on together.

We really hope last weekend’s course was as fun and satisfying for our participants and it was for us. Everyone worked really hard (there were moments when steam was almost visible coming out of people’s ears), and with great humour. It was excellent to see how people are using PAMGuard, and it gave us some ideas for how the software can be developed in the future.

Thanks very much to our partipicants, and to Robert and Heather at the Vine Trust for providing such a great venue.

Next Advanced course scheduled for October 2016 – see you then!

By macster110, Jul 1 2014 08:55PM

Just a quick (and late) report on our practical course. We filled the course with participants from as far flung as Hong Kong. The Isle of Mull isn’t the easiest place to get to but all managed to arrive on time in the beautiful town of Tobermory. Our classroom was located at the top of the harbour association building, overlooking the marina and seafront, a great place to learn passive acoustics.

The first day was spent introducing everyone to PAMGUARD, the software suite we use for research and mitigation. Initially we looked at some of the basic functionally, including how to detect clicks, create a spectrogram and set up some basic configurations. The next day was spent learning some of the more advanced features of PAMGUARD, interspersed with lectures on physics of underwater acoustics, some talk on mitigation and demonstrations of real passive acoustics kit.

With brains thoroughly frazzled the third and final day of the course gave everyone a chance to go out on Silurian, a 16m research vessel used by HWDT. Silurian is primarily used by HWDT for visual and passive acoustic surveys on the west coast of Scotland, but she’s also been involved in some cutting edge work looking at porpoise distribution in tidal streams and is regularly used to teach marine mammal masters students from the University of St Andrews. Participants learned how to problem solve, figure out what might be wrong with hardware and software when surveying. To make the whole experience ultra-realistic the hydrophone actually did break at the start of the day! Not a problem as we had brought a spare but just goes to show why a course like this is important.

Congratulations to everyone who attended! We pushed you hard - you all did very well and now have a PAMTech practical cert to show it.

By macster110, Jun 17 2013 05:15PM

PamTech is back from this year’s European Ceteacean Society conference which took place in Setubal (Portugal). We are proud to announce that the first “Introduction to PAMGUARD” workshop was a great success. Our workshop was selected amongst 12 other workshops with varying topics to take part during the weekend prior to the main conference. Although there was quite a lot of competition we were overwhelmed on the participation requests we received. We decided to follow our philosophy of small groups in order to provide the best learning experience. On Sunday the 7th of April, 15 lucky participants joined the PamTech team which comprised this time of Douglas Gillespie, Olivia Harries and Anja Wittich, in the Hotel Esperanca for a full day of PAMGUARD introduction. The morning session consisted of two excellent presentations which were followed by the practical exercises. The first presentation gave a general overview about marine mammals in passive acoustics whereas the second presentation focused more on technical issues of PAM and PAMGUARD. The practical exercises were carried out in form of a Manual, so each participant was able to proceed at his/her own speed. The exercises covered a variety of cetaceans ranging from manual and automatic sperm whale detection, dolphin whistle detection followed by blue whale detection. Furthermore participants learned how to set up their own pamguard settings file and discovered how to collect real time data. The last exercise comprised of a brief introduction of the offline capabilities of PAMGUARD (Viewer). The feedback we received from this one day curse was helpful, encouraging and positive. We believe everybody learned something about PAMGUARD that day including ourselves. Thank you all for your participation.

Anja Wittich

By macster110, Jan 13 2013 10:35AM

PAMTech belongs to and is run by a group of cetacean researchers and industry consultants in passive acoustics. Over the last year we have been developing and teaching a range of courses designed to provide a set of comprehensive skills in passive acoustic research and use in industry. As technology progresses passive acoustics is going to become an increasingly important field, used for density estimation, behavioural studies and mitigation of many different species, from blue whales to harbour porpoises.

We'll post when courses are available on this blog or you can e-mail us and request a course. For large groups we can provide courses on request. Otherwise for individuals or small groups we'll keep a track of all requests and e-mail you as soon as numbers make a course available.

Being run by active workers in the field, we understand the importance of teaching new and young researchers. If you are as student in full time education or financially restricted we offer a few reduced or free places on our courses. You can e-mail us to request a place.

So, check out the blog every now and then to see what we're up to and dates for courses. Post on our ECS intro to PAMGUARD course coming soon.



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