The foundation for a formal training program in bioacoustical oceanography could be a basic graduate-level course modeled after the bio-optical oceanography course taught at Friday Harbor Laboratories. This course has provided rigorous training in bio-optical oceanography for dozens of graduate students over the last seven or eight years. In turn, these students have gone on to become the critical mass for bio-optical oceanography's rapid advancement and acceptance within the biological oceanographic community. The potential for a similar course in bioacoustical oceanography is great; a possible course outline might include the following topics.
The bioacoustical oceanography basic course should emphasize: 1) a practical, "hands on" approach to learning; 2) an equal emphasis on acoustical methods and biological oceanographic applications; and 3) exposure to the expertise and instruction of visiting lecturers from a variety of institutions. This multi-institutional aspect of the course is something that should be encouraged in other elements of the overall training program.
The next logical element in the training of graduate students is a full degree program in bioacoustical oceanography. It was suggested that one approach to such a program might include having students, regardless of home institution, traveling to other institutions for portions of their graduate education. A multi-institutional education of this type, although unconventional, would offer the following benefits:
After graduate school, there is a critical need to support the new or continued training of postdoctoral fellows in bioacoustical oceanography. It was recommended that a postdoctoral program in bioacoustical oceanography be initiated within the biological oceanography section at NSF comparable to the one recently initiated in biotechnology. It was further suggested that NOAA and ONR be encouraged to support similar postdoctoral programs.
At the level of the working professional, mechanisms must be developed so that basic as well as advanced training in bioacoustical oceanography becomes more readily available. Short-term (1-2 week) workshops may meet some of these needs, but a longer term (0.5-1 year) "mentorship" program might be necessary for those professionals interested in retooling themselves as independent, competent practitioners of bioacoustical oceanography. NOAA, NSF, and ONR appear to be the most appropriate funding sources to support professional training grants and fellowships of this nature.