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A community for nature-based learning, sound exploration, and real-world problem-solving for creative thinkers


MISSION: Conserve Sonic Biodiversity 

The aim of the HIFI Bioconservatory at the John Martinson Honors College at Purdue University is to cultivate a vibrant undergraduate interdisciplinary community of JMHC undergraduate students interested in the science, technology, and culture of conservation and sound. Graduate mentors and research faculty are core of this TEAM Science approach fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, empowering students to explore, experiment, and analyze real-world problems, and to contribute innovative solutions and communicate about sonic biodiversity.

The nature of RESEARCH for the HIFI BioConservatory will be to 1) produce new knowledge/creative works about biological sonic environments, 2) explore and develop new technology for the study of biological sonic environments, 3) investigate and develop noise mitigation strategies for wildlife and human cohabitation, and 4) engage with communities about these issues. 


To further this work, the nature of ENGAGEMENT for the HIFI BioConservatory will be to 1) coproduce knowledge such that science is more actionable by engaging stakeholders to share in its design and implementation, and 2) create innovative experiential exhibits, compositions, or artistic expressions that invite the public to engage in science.



Admitted JMHC student from any school/college/major who has an interest in science, technology and culture and want to experience a nature-based research and engagement lab. Any graduate student interested in the field who wants to serve as a mentor for undergraduates. 


Students must submit 4 service hours per semester to maintain membership. Service hours can be earned by enrolling for a volunteer activity at a partner organization, or an organization with similar values selected by the student. 


Students will need to attend a minimum of 4 lab meetings and/or participate in activities throughout the semester to maintain membership.



Semester-based program can be 1) coordinated with associated class for credit, 2) coordinated with a special topic for an independent study, 3) placement in a grant-based secondary lab for work with specialized STEM team with internship designation and funding,  4) service-learning credit or payment, and 5) recognition for your contributions to published research and outcomes


Course recommendations qualify for credit to receive an Undergraduate Honors Certificate program.

Active program participation may qualify student for direct admit to graduate school through the Ecological Sciences and Engineering Graduate program at Purdue University.




HONR 464-FALL - Noise in the Environment (16-week course) (3 credits) (qualifies as credit for undergraduate research certificate)

This CUR-designed course will give members of the BioConservatory (and JMHC students) a complete research lifecycle experience by employing STEM-based research methods for a self-designed problem about in noise in the environment usingg acoustic recordings for the undergraduate or graduate student.


HONR 464-SPRING - Sonic Biodiversity (16-week course) (3 credits) (qualifies for credit for undergraduate research certificate)

This CUR-designed course will give members of the BioConservatory (and JMHC students) a look into non-traditional methods for research and engagement in natural and urban settings that concern biodiversity and the connection to music and animal/environmental sounds.  To be offered in the future


HONR-SPRING - Visualizing Sound (8-week course)

This course will give BioConservatory members an opportunity to work in an undergraduate research lab experience where we will explore data visually, through computer coding, art, or music, use online visualization tools, engage with a museum interactive experience, and learn about metrics that help the designer to assess merit and learning outcomes. To be offered in the future



HONR 299 Lead Forward Practice

HONR 314 Human Epoch: Climate Solutions

HONR 399: Exploring Biology Through Pokemon or related topics


Sonic Biodiversity Conference - help plan and design an annual conference for undergraduate and graduate presentations on sustainable practices that support sonic biodiversity

Earth Day Celebration - help plan and design an annual engagement celebration that benefit community, regional, and potentially global communities; ties in with campus-wide and JMHC programming; opportunity to apply for Lead Grant funds

  • Fall, spring, and summer community volunteer days

  • Personalized research and creative project (independent study credit, internship, or experiential options)

  • Bi-weekly lab meet-up (may be in conjunction with another research lab or with the local Acoustical Society of America club)

  • Field trips / Research travel (local, regional, and study away opportunities)

  • Participation in Conferences and Workshops (minimum of 1 per year)



Guiding Research Questions


The complete approach by HIFI BioConservatory will provide experience, teach and offer ways to conserve, and protect sonic biodviersity. We will do that by using a six-pronged lifecycle workflow: 1) Partners, 2) Learn, 3) Research, 4) Interdisciplinary, 5) Engage, and 6) Publish, that focus on the study and translation of core research questions. We will utilize partners to serve as our learning playground with partnering curriculum and workshops where we will conduct research in interdisciplinary teams to engage the public and share findings to the general community.

Short-term or long-term Research: experience full lifecycle lab experience
Wolf Park • Groundwork Indy • NASA • US Fish & Wildlife Service • Niches Land Trust • Tippecanoe  County Parks and Recreation


No research experience necessary • skill development through HONORS coursework or independent study • field training with mentors • earn credits toward Research Certificate Program


Share findings and new knowledge with community • Exhibit design and displays • Workshops • Presentations at research symposiums • Journal publications



The current sounds of our world are under threat of disappearing -- a sonic warning announced in an earlier generation by the profound book "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, whereby the application of pesticides on insects contributed in a trophic cascade of silence -- poisoned insect equated to poisoned bird. Scientists’ findings indicate that we could be in the sixth mass extinction of the world with three- quarters of today's animal species vanishing within 300 years (Ceballos et al, 2015). The protection of our sonic world and biodiversity is not just a problem for scientists. We believe that the John Martinson Honors College is at the forefront of interdisciplinary collaboration and research opportunities that can improve community awareness and action-oriented solutions that start here on campus and in our own backyard. The paradigm of silence is a universal experience that can transform ideas and perceptions about what silence means. For instance, silence in habitats can be attributed to biodiversity loss (Pijanowski et al, 2011) due to increased human disturbances by noise and light pollution (Barber et al., 2015; Ditchkoff et al, 2006). There is increased interest in how disturbances impact plants too (Khait et al, 2019). But silence can also be attributed to reduced stress and increased human health (Ratcliffe, 2021). Recent research has focused on how local communities can begin to reverse the trends of biodiversity loss by using backyards, urban space for connectivity, and even citizen science methods to have broader and immediate impacts on both wildlife and society (Rudd et al, 2002; Callaghan et al. 2023). The HIFI BioConservatory is dedicated to translating new knowledge to action.


Thank you to our partners who allow for collaborative research and engagement projects.



Are you a graduate or undergraduate student interested in joining the lab?  Please send me a quick email with your name, year, program of study, and brief description of what you would like to do.

Associated Classes
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