Katy Payne, an acoustic biologist and the director of the Cornell University Elephant Listening Project, will offer a lecture entitledEavesdropping on Forest Elephantsat West Virginia University this week.

Paynes talk will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Room 101 Woodburn Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Payne spent many years studying the changing songs of humpback whales prior to discovering new information concerning how elephants communicate. In 1984, she and two colleagues discovered that elephants use infrasound, making calls below the level of human hearing. This discovery sent her to Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe, where she studied elephant uses of infrasound in long-distance communication.

Paynes lecture at WVU will discuss the Cornell Elephant Listening Project, which she established in 1999 to develop an acoustic monitoring program for elephants that live in dense forests. In two field seasons in the Central African Republic, Payne and her team used video recordings and an acoustic array to study the communication and behavior of forest elephants for purposes of conservation.

When shes not in the field, Payne is analyzing her data in the Bioacoustics Research Program of Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology. She is the author ofSilent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants.More information concerning the Cornell Elephant Listening Project can be found athttp://birds.cornell.edu/brp/elephant/index.html.

This lecture is the third in”The Wild Harvested Species Seminar Series,”sponsored by WVU ’s Department of Biology and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Announcements will be forthcoming about future lectures in the series.

For more information, contact Brent Bailey in WVU ’s Department of Biology, at 304-293-5201 ext. 31468.