Laura Kloepper

Visiting Asst Professor
Assistant Professor
Office: UNH COLSA Biological Sciences, Spaulding Room 248, Durham, NH 03824
Laura Kloepper

Dr. Laura Kloepper's research explores how animals use acoustics to sense and navigate their world and how we can use acoustics to monitor animal populations. Specifically, using bats as her primary model organism, she investigates the link between acoustics and locomotion in actively sensing animals, the behavior of animals in groups, and passive acoustic approaches to estimate animal populations. This research combines acoustic recordings with thermal, infrared, and 3D video tracking to understand acoustic behavior in concert with animal movement. Her work is primarily field based and uses mobile platforms for data collection including drones, zip-lines, and falconry.

Current projects in the Ecological Acoustics and Behavior Lab include:

-Investigating how bats modify echolocation and flight behavior when in dense groups and under high-speed flight
-Understanding rules that govern the interactions of bats flying in groups
-Using passive acoustics to census populations of animals in dense groups including bats, frogs, and seabirds

Techniques in our lab can be used to investigate animal acoustic behavior across taxa. Past projects with students include work with dolphins, whales, shrews, owls, and giraffes.

Research Interests

  • Acoustics
  • Animal behavior
  • Animal Communication
  • Ecology and Population
  • Mammalogy
  • Unmanned Aircraft/Drones
  • Wildlife & Habitat Management/Conservation
  • Zoology

Courses Taught

  • 827/727: Animal Communication

Selected Publications

Brighton, C. H., Zusi, L., McGowan, K. A., Kinniry, M., Kloepper, L. N., & Taylor, G. K. (2021). Aerial attack strategies of hawks hunting bats, and the adaptive benefits of swarming. Behavioral Ecology, 32(3), 464-476. doi:10.1093/beheco/araa145

McGowan, K. A., & Kloepper, L. N. (2020). Different as night and day: wild bats modify echolocation in complex environments when visual cues are present. Animal Behaviour, 168, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2020.07.025

Kloepper, L. N., & Kinniry, M. (2018). Recording animal vocalizations from a UAV: bat echolocation during roost re-entry. Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26122-z

Fu, Y., Kinniry, M., & Kloepper, L. N. (2018). The Chirocopter: A UAV for recording sound and video of bats at altitude. METHODS IN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 9(6), 1531-1535. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12992

Kloepper, L. N., & Bentley, I. (2017). Stereotypy of group flight in Brazilian free-tailed bats. Animal Behaviour, 131, 123-130. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.07.019

Kloepper, L. N., Linnenschmidt, M., Blowers, Z., Branstetter, B., Ralston, J., & Simmons, J. A. (2016). Estimating colony sizes of emerging bats using acoustic recordings. Royal Society Open Science, 3(3), 160022. doi:10.1098/rsos.160022

Kloepper, L. N., Nachtigall, P. E., Donahue, M. J., & Breese, M. (2012). Active echolocation beam focusing in the false killer whale, <i>Pseudorca crassidens</i>. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215(8), 1306-1312. doi:10.1242/jeb.066605

Kloepper, L. N., Nachtigall, P. E., Gisiner, R., & Breese, M. (2010). Decreased echolocation performance following high-frequency hearing loss in the false killer whale (<i>Pseudorca crassidens</i>). Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(21), 3717-3722. doi:10.1242/jeb.042788