Killer Whale Acoustic Specialist
“What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.” – Jacques Cousteau
Volker was born in Germany and raised in Austria, but has lived most of his life abroad. He started studying biology in Berlin, but soon transferred to Vancouver, where he completed a master’s degree investigating the evolution of vocal dialects in resident (fish-eating) killer whales. He received his doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland focused on the vocal behaviour of transient (mammal-eating) killer whales in British Columbia and Alaska and the response of harbour seals to killer whale calls. After post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia’s Marine Mammal Research Unit, Volker returned to the United Kingdom, where he is currently associate professor in wildlife conservation at the University of Cumbria. Volker’s specialty is underwater acoustics and he has all the technological gadgets for eavesdropping on the underwater communications of whales, dolphins, and seals. In addition, Volker is interested in all aspects of animal behaviour and is currently branching out from killer whales, looking at the behavioural aspects of some other species, including bears and snow leopards.