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Bioacoustics Laboratory
Dr. Peter Scheifele


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Background:

Peter is a Vietnam veteran and retired Navy Lieutenant Commander. Having entered the Navy as an enlisted man he served in various ratings. Peter also began working with marine animals while in the Navy and was the Director of Training for the Canine Obedience Training Club of Hawaii where he also judged AKC obedience and tracking trials. After eleven years he became a Commissioned Limited Duty Officer and Naval Oceanography Officer specializing in marine mammal bioacoustic research. During his final ten years he worked at the Naval Underwater Systems Center in New London, Connecticut and at Mystic Marinelife Aquarium where he was Chief Scientist for the Navy Marine Mammal Technology Research Program at NUSC and eventually, Head Trainer at Mystic Aquarium. It was in this command that he received a presidential award from president Bush Sr. for his pioneering work in dolphin bioacoustic research as it related to transducers and fetal ultrasound and was inducted into the Order of the Decibel. He retired after 23 years of active service. After retiring he trained and worked narcotics dogs for the U.S. Coast Guard for drug interdiction and research.

In 1991 Peter began working at the National Undersea Research Center for the North Atlantic and Great Lakes at the University of Connecticut as Director of education and outreach programs and Marine Operations Manager. He is presently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Communications Science Department neuroaudiology laboratory at the University of Connecticut, Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island in the Communicative Disorders Department (neuroaudiology) and Research Associate/Assistant Professor In-Residence in the Animal Sciences Department, Animal Bioacoustics and Neuroaudiology section at the University of Connecticut. He specializes in neuroaudiology and electrophysiology. He has also taught at the American School for the Deaf on behalf of the University of Connecticut under a National Science Foundation grant.

Peterís specialty regards integrated research into the Lombard Response in humans as it relates to central auditory processing and Attention Deficit Disorder in school children as well as marine mammal, exotic and companion animal bioacoustic models of human neuroaudiology and central auditory processing systems. He also presently conducts research on the effects of low-frequency noise on the Beluga Whales of the St. Lawrence River Estuary for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, and canine hearing and the study of central auditory system relationships to cognitive processing in animals using electrophysiological techniques. He is also a collaborator in the study of animal vocalizations related to stress using advanced neural computer model techniques under the Dolittle Project grant from the National Science Foundation.

Peter has been involved with animal and marine mammal bioacoustic research and training for 28 years and human neuroaudiology research for 8 years. Peterís degrees are in Physics, Oceanography, and human and animal Bioacoustics (minor in speech and hearing sciences) with a medical elective in head and neck anatomy and an elective in mechanical engineering. He received his AA from the University of Hawaii, BS, MS and PhD degrees and engineering elective from the University of Connecticut and did his medical elective (medical research, gross anatomy) at Mount Sinai. He is married to Lesa Collins-Scheifele and has two children; Peter age 13 and Samantha, age 12. They live in Norwich, Connecticut.

Current Research:

The Lombard Effect in Autistic and ADD-diagnosed children (for the University of Connecticut Department of Communication Sciences).
Defining Heschlís Gyrus: Planum Temporale versus Planum Parietale in Human Auditory cortex (for the University of Connecticut Department of Communications Sciences).
Using Event-related potentials to measure cognition in cetacea (for the University of Connecticut Department of Animal Sciences and Communication Sciences).
Classifying Tonal Calls of the Beluga in the St. Lawrence River Estuary using an artificial neural network and batch spectral moments (for the University of Connecticut Department of Animal Sciences and Marquette University).
Impacts of Low Frequency Noise on Sub-Arctic Beluga Whales Modeling of Noise Impacts (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Ste. Lawrence Estuary, Quebec, Canada (for GREMM and DFO, Canada).
Acoustic mapping of pools and life support systems in aquaria for auditory health of captive animals.

Active Research Interests:

Lombard Vocal Response in Humans and animals
Sensorineural Deafness in Dogs
Baseline animal hearing and sound production research
Mapping of Auditory Cortex and Central Auditory System; Cetacean and Human
Acoustic mapping of pool systems in Aquaria for marine mammals
Electrophysiological Methods in Animal Hearing Assessment
Aquatic Animal Hearing and Sound Production

Professional Affiliations:

Acoustical Society of America - President (local Narragansett chapter)
Acoustical Society of America - Animal Bioacoustics Committee
Association for Research in Otolaryngology
Society of Marine Mammalogy
American Auditory Society

Service:

Serves as physics and oceanography teacher as well as acoustic specialist at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Serve as bioacoustics and marine mammal behavior steering committee member and consultant for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and high-speed vessel group.
Serves as bioacoustician for Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Quebec, Canada and Parks Canada.
Serves as Visiting Researcher and specialist for Mystic Marinelife Aquarium.
Serves as adjunct science teacher and science advisor at St. Patrick's School in Norwich, CT.
Served as consultant to U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs, Police, and FBI on Use of Canines and training for Counternarcotics detection.

Certifications:

Certified by University of Connecticut to conduct autopsy of human cadavers for prosecution and organ transfer for teaching.

Awards & Honours:

Oceans í88 and Oceans í89 Award from the American Geophysical Union for work on sound absorption in sea water.
Presidential award from George Busch for research on echolocation during synchronous behaviours with Bottlenose Dolphins.
Order of the Decibel award from the United States Navy for Marine Mammal acoustical Research and sonar technology.

Hobbies and Non-Academic Interests:

Ice Hockey (playing), Fencing, Running

Publications & Presenatations:
View Dr. Scheifele's publications & presentations.

Projects:
View projects awarded to Dr. Scheifele.

Contact:
Peter M. Scheifele PhD LCDR USN (Ret.)
Assistant Professor University of Cincinnati Communication Sciences and Disorders
French East Building
3202 Eden Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0379
Fax: 513-558-8500
Dept. Office: 513-558-8501 Email: peter.scheifele@uconn.edu.

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Original photographs courtesy of the Bioacoustics Laboratory UConn. Edited by Frances Foley.

Production, Graphics & Design by Frances Caprio Foley.
Noisemakers Productions. Copyright 2007.
Updated June 2007.