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PhD position on sound localisation in dolphins - Paris, France

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Subject: PhD position on sound localisation in dolphins - Paris, France
From: Lapo Boschi <>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2018 12:54:30 +0000
Applications are sought for a PhD position at Sorbonne University (Paris).
​The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr. Lapo Boschi at the Earth Sciences institute (ISTEP), Dr. Anthony Herrel at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), and Dr. J. Marchal at the d'Alembert institute (IJLRA).

Most literature concerned with the evolution of sound localization postulates that this task is accomplished by means of three, well established auditory cues, at least in mammals. The first is binaural or interaural time-difference (ITD): the auditory system compares the arrival time of a sound at the two ears to determine its azimuth. The second is the binaural or interaural intensity or level difference (IID or ILD): the difference in the intensity of a sound is used to determine azimuth. Finally, mammals evolved external ears, or pinnae,
that alter the spectrum of a sound as a function of source location; monaural pinna cues enable an animal to avoid front-back confusions and localize sound in the vertical plane. It has been suggested that this simple model is insufficient to explain the resolution, target detection, localization and tracking abilities of the biosonar system in odontocete cetaceans (dolphins and toothed
​ ​
whales). The research that we propose to conduct questions the ITD/ILD/spectrum idea, suggesting that the brain of odontocete cetaceans might be capable of analyzing acoustic waveforms in more sophisticated and
​ ​
effective ways. Our work will contribute to constraining the nature of the sound localization algorithm encoded in the odontecete brain, bridging the gap between physicists who think of sound localization and other auditory tasks in terms of data processing, and psychoacousticians and biologists whose experimental work provides data on the auditory performance in living organisms. It will contribute to a better understanding of the mammalian brain, and inspire the
evelopment of new sound localization systems, useful to a variety of applications e.g. in robotics, seismology, and physical acoustics.

Required application material :
  1. detailed CV
  2. letter of motivation
  3. transcripts of notes for your master's courses
  4. Recommandation letter from the supervisors of your first and second year's master's degree.
Please email your application to L. Boschi <> by the 17th of May, 2018.

Lapo BOSCHI - Maitre de conférences
Laboratoire iSTeP, UMR 7193 UPMC-CNRS
Université Pierre et Marie Curie
4, place Jussieu
Case 129, T.46-00, Et.2
75252 Paris Cedex 05
Tel:+33 (0)1 44 27 52 43

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