Professional News: Arthur N. Popper

Arthur N. Popper, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Department of Biology continues to research and publish on the effects of man-made sounds on fishes and other aquatic life. 

Popper continues with a research program that examines the effects of man-made sounds on fishes and other aquatic life. There is substantial concern in the US and abroad that some of these sounds can permanently harm, or even kill, animals. The sounds are very loud and come from in water construction (such as wind farm construction), oil and gas exploration using sources that produce sounds, long-term exposure to shipping, and/or high-power sonars used by navies of the world.  Popper both conducts studies on the effects of these sources and has been engaged in setting guidelines and criteria for exposure to such sounds to prevent potential harm to fishes and invertebrates.

Scientific publications

Moore, P. and Popper, A. N. (2019). Heptuna’s contributions to biosonar. Acoustics Today, 15(1): 44-52. 

In this paper, Popper and his colleague (and former student) Patrick Moore describes the decades-long research career of Heptuna, a dolphin that “worked” for the U.S. Navy and participated in numerous studies on hearing and echolocation.  Had Heptuna been allowed to be co-author on papers in which he was the subject of study, he would certainly have made full professor at most major US universities.

Popper, A. N. and Hawkins, A. D. (2019). An overview of fish bioacoustics and the impacts of anthropogenic sounds on fishes. Journal of Fish Biology, 94:692-713.  

Popper and his colleagues Professor Anthony Hawkins (Aberdeen, UK) were invited by the Fisheries Board of the UK to review the scientific literature on the effects of man-made (anthropogenic) sound on fishes.

Popper, A. N., Hawkins, A. D., Sand, O., and Sisneros, J. A. (2019). Examining the hearing abilities of fishes. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 146, 948-955.

Popper and his colleagues Anthony Hawkins, Olav Sand (University of Oslo), and Joseph Sisneros (University of Washington) examined past research on fish hearing and propose a path to improving the quality of future studies.

Popper is the co-founder and editor of a series of books on hearing – the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research.  To date, 70 volumes have been published. Recent books are listed below.

Volume 67: Dent, M. L., Fay, R. R., and Popper, A.N. (2018). Rodent Bioacoustics. Springer International, Cham. This volume was edited by former UMD doctoral student Micheal Dent (now professor of Psychology at the University of Buffalo,  The book is dedicated to UMD professor emeritus Robert Dooling (Psychology).

Volume 68: Lee, A. KC, Wallace, M. T., Coffin, A. B., Popper, A. N., and Fay R. R. (2019). Multisensory Processes: The Auditory Perspective. Springer International, Cham.

Volume 69: Siedenburg, K., Saitis, C., McAdams, S., Popper, A. N., and Fay, R. R. (2019). Timbre: Acoustics, Perception, and Cognition. Springer International, Cham.

Volume 70: Carlson, B. A., Sisneros, J. A., Popper, A. N., and Fay, R. R. (2020). Eletroreception: Fundamental Insights from Comparative Approaches. Springer International Cham.

In addition, Popper was co-organizer of an international meeting Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life (, the fifth in a series of meetings he founded along with colleague Anthony Hawkins.  A paper giving an overview of the meeting is:

Erbe, C., Sisneros, J., Thompsen, F., Lepper, P., Hawkins, A., Popper, A. N. (2019). Overview of the Fifth International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. 37(1),  001001.

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