Camille Pagniello is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Ocean Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, data science, acoustics, animals, oceanography, conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. She is currently using passive acoustics and optical imaging to identify the sounds of commercially and recreationally important fish species and to locate their spawning areas within marine protected areas.
Camille completed her BSc Honours, Co-op in Marine Biology and Physics with minors in Mathematics and Ocean Sciences (First Class Honours) at Dalhousie University. During her studies, Camille was an NSERC USRA scholar at Dalhousie and Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution conducting research in the fields of computational geometry, atmospheric physics, biological oceanography, avian acoustics and biology, and ocean acoustics. She also completed a semester abroad as part of the SEA Semester Program (S-250) in which she sailed from San Diego, CA to Papeete, Tahiti and conducted marine chemistry research.
Camille has been an active student member of the Marine Technology Society (MTS) since 2010, The Oceanography Society (TOS) since 2015, and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) since 2017 serving in multiple student leadership positions. She also competed on MUN’s Eastern Edge Robotics team at the 2013 MATE International Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competition in Federal Way, Washington where she also served as Ocean Career Expo Coordinator. She is AAUS Scientific Diver, and regularly dives for scientific research purposes.
Camille is interested in combining multiple sensing modalities (e.g., passive and active acoustics, optical imaging, remote sensing, telemetry etc.) to study the spatial and temporal patterns of species diversity, abundance and biomass and how these patterns are related to biological, chemical, geological and physical environmental properties in the ocean.
Through the development and use of new, innovative, non-lethal, open source and low-cost instrumentation as well as employing physics- and statistical-based models, she aims to:
Camille's ultimate goal is to contribute to the basic scientific understanding of the biological and physical processes to further conservation efforts and to democratize access to ocean technology.
The vastness of the ocean and the pace at which it changes make it difficult to observe and document. As such, person-intensive methods are not sufficient to characterize marine ecosystems. “Do-it-yourself” technology that is designed specifically for monitoring and co-developed in an adaptative management context directly with conservation practitioners, resource managers and policymakers could help address this gap.
Camille is interested in designing and developing low-cost, non-invasive, multi-sensory monitoring platforms for ocean conservation and management using the “working backwards” ocean solutions development framework.
Listening to the biological components of the ocean’s soundscape is a promising method for monitoring animal biodiversity. Passive acoustic monitoring provides good spatial and temporal coverage enabling the mapping of the distribution and occurrence of animals within their habitat.Additionally, most sounds can be uniquely described by their spectral and temporal acoustic characteristics. When species-sound associations are known, passive acoustics can enable species-specific monitoring of marine communities.
Camille uses multi-element passive acoustic arrays in concert with optical imaging to answer three questions:
Manually inspecting image and acoustic datasets on the order of terabytes for the presence and absence of different animals and sound types is time consuming. To facilitate the widespread use of image and acoustic methods to estimate marine biodiversity, scientists and conservation practitioners alike need open-source automated detection and classification tools that can identify, separate and classify individual images or signals at a species-level.
Camille's work utilizes physics- and statistical-based approaches in concert with new advances in deep learning to develop a generalized power-law detection algorithm for fish sounds, and train a convolutional neural network to classify multiple fish species’ sounds.
Kelp forests are a prominent feature along the world’s coastlines in temperate and subpolar regions. However, increasing ocean temperatures are threatening the persistence of these highly productive ecosystems. While the distribution of surface-canopy-forming kelp can be mapped using remote sensing, a large portion of the canopy is frequently submerged by currents and are missed by such techniques. Acoustic mapping can capture the sub-surface distribution of kelp.
Camille's work is using a low-cost, commercial “fish finder" to map the distribution of kelp forest. Using this "fish finder" we are able to distinguish surface and understory kelp.
The primary objective of this research is to develop a unified ocean/seabed acoustic propagation model including scattering from kelp for low- and mid-frequency sounds in shallow water. This characterization of the water column and seabed acoustic properties will be used to improve the ability to detect, localize, and track acoustic sources in coastal environments. Data collected from a controlled source and source of opportunity (i.e., a low-frequency fish chorus) during the 2018 Kelp Acoustic Propagation Experiment (Kelp APE) will be used to help develop and validate the acoustic propagation model.
Few invariant measures are defined for fractals. Development of such measures will increase fractal geometry’s utility. This investigation explored the possibility of developing a systematic approach for determining invariants. Our strategy was to work asymptotically towards developing scaled magnitude functions for fractals in R2 by approximating a fractal with a finite sequence in a metric space, and attempting to take a limit of those measures. Using the Euclidean metric, it was found that the magnitude functions resulting from even low order fractals are very large and do not immediately lend themselves to asymptotic analysis. General formulae for calculating weights for two and three orbit fractals were developed. In addition, a general form of Leinster and Willerton’s (2009) Lemma 7 was proved. Solutions to some of the difficulties that were met when attempting to solve matrices and determine weights of higher order fractals will be presented.
The CANDAC Rayleigh-Mie-Raman Lidar (CRL) at Eureka, Nunavut (80N, 86W) has been successfully used to measure aerosols and water vapour over the past three years. The field of view (FOV) of the telescope and the lasers alignment to the FOV have a dramatic affect on the overall performance of the lidar. This investigation attempted to characterize this relationship in two ways. First, the entire FOV of the telescope was be mapped, as this provided further information about the alignment of the laser beam for a range of FOVs and thus, determined the affect of the FOV on the optimal alignment. Second, simulations to determine the theoretical change in the background signal received and its relationship to the FOV were done in order to compare it to the experimentally determined relationship.
Camille also helped operate the Dalhousie Ground Station as part of the international BORTAS (Quantifying the impact of BOReal forest fires on Tropospheric oxidants over the Atlantic using Aircraft and Satellites) measurements campaign that studied the chemistry of biomass burning plumes. The experiment featured fly-overs of the British BAe-146 research aircraft, guided by the lidar measurements.
Quantifying the size-structured biomass of marine communities and their governing processes is directly relevant to ecosystem-based management of exploited resources, yet shallow, fluctuating, coastal ecosystems, such as the Northumberland Strait, receive little research effort despite the presence of valuable fisheries.
Camille investigated whether spatial and temporal variation in the size-structured biomass of the zooplankton community is related to variation in water mass structure based on oceanographic and plankton abundance-at-size data collected in the Northumberland Strait. Principal component analysis and hierarchical agglomerative clustering of physical variables were used to define distinct oceanographic zones within the Strait. Linear and quadratic normalized biomass size spectra (NBSS) were used to quantify the size-structured biomass of the associated zooplankton community. Correlations amongst the NBSS parameters showed that biological processes governed most of the size structure variation in the zooplankton community. In spring, the NBSS was primarily influenced by biological processes while in autumn physical factors had more influence on the size structure. Top-down processes, such as predation on larger zooplankton, appeared to explain the steeper NBSS slopes relative to the hypothetical steady-state slope of -1.00. Differences in all of the NBSS parameters, except slope, between seasons, were likely due to bottom-up processes such as increased nutrient input. Similarly, bottom-up processes may have resulted in the steeper slopes in coastal waters relative to core waters in late spring. The NBSS also varied between the open ocean and each of the upper and lower Strait. The interpretation of pattern requires caution due to the effects of aliased sampling. Limitations of the quadratic NBSS, when the shape of the spectrum deviates from the parabola, indicate that the linear NBSS better describes processes governing NBSS variation. Overall, the results of this thesis created the first quantitative zooplankton community baseline for detecting ecosystem change in the Strait.
The “drumming” sound produced by Gallinago gallinago (Common Snipe) and Gallinago delicata (Wilson’s Snipe) were characterized. Both the drum durations and durations of five pulses, i.e. the 7th to the 3rd pulse from the end of the drum, followed a near normal distribution. Trends suggested that little variation occurred in these variables within the species, regardless of their geographic location. Unfortunately, inter-drum intervals proved to be a less than ideal measurement to characterize the drum of Wilson’s Snipe.
Additionally, Strigiformes specimens and vocal tracts were dissected and measured using dissecting scope.
Thecosome pteropods are shell-forming planktonic gastropods, which are sensitive to ocean acidification due to their aragonite shells. This study investigated how continued ocean acidification will impact the geographic distribution, total abundance, species composition and species diversity of oceanic thecosome pteropods in the southeast Pacific.
Pteropods were collected at nine stations along the cruise track with a 333 µm-mesh meter net. At the same locations, hydrographic measurements and seawater samples were collected with a CTD and Niskin bottles, respectively. Pteropods were counted and speciated using a dissecting microscope. Total abundance, species composition and species diversity were compared with latitude, pH, total carbonate alkalinity (TCA), sea surface temperature (SST), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and aragonite saturation state (Ωaragonite).
Total abundance, species composition and species diversity were not significantly associated with SST, pH, TCA, DIC or Ωaragonite. Species composition in the same general locale tended to be similar, however was primarily determined by the dominating species. Limacina spp. were the most common pteropods present along the cruise track and often dominated the species composition. Pteropod communities with low abundances typically had high species diversities, and no dominating species. The results of this experiment suggest that although ocean acidification is increasingly becoming a threat to pteropods, it is not currently affecting these organisms in their natural environment.
Both multi-frequency and broadband acoustic scattering techniques have been used to investigate the nature of a strong pervasive acoustic scattering layer observed during both day and night, at a depth of approximately 20-50 m in the northeast Pacific. Zooplankton composition and size were determined using net sampling techniques, and water properties were determined using conductivity, temperature, and depth sensors. Dominant scatterers have been identified using scattering models for zooplankton. A scattering model for Corolla was also developed to determine their contributions to the total scattering.
Corolla, and elastic-shelled pteropods, which both accounted for a small fraction of the total abundance and biomass, dominated the scattering at low and high frequencies, respectively. Fluid-like siphonophore body parts, which accounted for a small fraction of the total abundance, but a large fraction of the total biomass, dominated the scattering at mid frequencies. Contrarily to previous findings, copepods that accounted for most of the abundance, but little of the biomass, never dominated the scattering. The oceanographic characteristics of the locations analyzed may have created an ideal microenvironment for these organisms to aggregate in layers.
As part of UC San Diego's Summer Graduate Teaching Scholars (SGTS) program, Camille designed and taught SIO 134: Introduction to Biological Oceanography. The course combined active learning activties with traditional lectures to help students achieve five learning outcomes:
Frequent, low-stakes assessments in a variety of forms (e.g., quizzes, discussion questions, etc.) were designed such that the course promoted learning and engagement, rather than memorization.
Students were asked to make a concerted effort to shift their thinking and approach to learning in this course from “What do I need to know for the test?” to “What concepts should I have a basic knowledge of to understand and contribute to the field of biological oceanography?” By the end of the course, Camille wanted students to be able to explain important mechanisms and concepts in biological oceanography to others rather than memorize and regurgitate small details. Students were also asked to take active responsibility for their learning during class sessions and speak up if they did not understand something in class.
Lecture slides, videos, assessments and teaching evaluations are available upon request.
A 2D side-scroller that navigates the protagonist Plainfin Midshipman across different environments just outside of La Jolla Cove designed by adults on the Autism Spectrum as part of the Power of Neurogaming (PONG) Center summer internship.
"The most exciting thing about my work is that I am always discovering something new. While the San Diego kelp forests are considered some of the best studied on the planet (mostly due to their proximity to Scripps), no researcher has taken a combined optical-acoustical approach to investigating the biodiversity of the kelp forests’ inhabitants."
"In my third year, I founded the SIO Graduate Student Council to represent and advance the interests of all graduate students (i.e., MAS, MS, and Ph.D.) at SIO. The Council is a conduit for aggregating and representing all SIO graduate student voices to the SIO faculty, the SIO Department, the Graduate Student Association and the University of California San Diego."
"The fifteen-day mission demonstrated that the platform can be used in surveys of coastal waters to reveal where fish are spawning, and to provide insights into the influence of various factors (such as kelp coverage and temperature) on where spawning grounds occur."
"The next phase was to match sounds to fish, a complex exercise in data analysis given the massive volume of data. The bulk of the work was done by Pagniello and undergraduate interns who are still combing through the acoustic and visual data. “In one period of 13 days, we got over 17,000 usable images, and were able to identify 9,700 fish of 16 species, as well as 1,243 fish that we couldn’t identify,” said Pagniello."
"Pagniello, who was funded as a Sea Grant trainee, took on the task of modifying a commercially available camera into a system that could be left alone with the acoustic recorders in the kelp forest. With advice and support from Jaffe and his team of ocean engineers, Pagniello built a camera housing and battery pack that could be deployed underwater for up to two weeks at a time, and connected the camera to a tiny computer to set it to automatically take photos at intervals from dawn to dusk."
"Towards the goal of both listening to the fish and identifying which species are vocalizing, we developed a Fish Optical and Acoustic Sensor Identification System (FishOASIS) (Figure 1). This portable, low-cost instrument couple’s a multi-element passive acoustic array with multiple cameras, thus allowing us to determine which fish are making which sound for a variety of species. In addition to detecting sporadic events such as fish spawning aggregations, this instrument also provides the ability to track individual fish within aggregations."
"For two years now, Širović and her collaborators Jules Jaffe, Ed Parnell, graduate student Camille Pagniello, and post-doctoral scholar Jack Butler have been recording sound off La Jolla in kelp beds with funding from the California Sea Grant. The recordings were excellent, but they initially highlighted a problem: it wasn’t clear to the team which fish were creating which sound."
"From February 26 to March 2, the acoustic-camera system continuously recorded sounds and time-lapse video of the creatures in the Giant Kelp Forest exhibit. Scripps scientists will analyze the recordings to understand the unique sounds different species of fish create. They will compare fish calls made in the exhibit to those recorded in the wild, allowing them to interpret which fish are “chatting” in the kelp forest. They will also update a catalogue of fish sounds for species that live in our local kelp forests."
"Scripps Oceanography researcher Camille Pagniello dives to retrieve equipment off La Jolla Shores, Sept. 15, 2017."
"During the winter of 2013–2014, a warm-water anomaly formed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, persisting until early 2016. This 'blob', as it became known, altered the physical properties of the marine environment. For example, increasing stratification in the region — impacting mixing and upwelling, which affect the marine ecosystem. Letícia Cavole and colleagues at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, USA synthesize the biological impacts of the warm anomaly, and consider how representative the event may be of future climate."
"Reflecting on the Oceans conferences, for Camille, the biggest benefit has been being able to spend time with the people she has met who are working in the oceans community. At Oceans ’12, it was an eye-opener to meet people working in ocean technology companies in Halifax she had never heard of. “The awesome thing was to go around and meet all these people who were local—literally in my backyard—and I didn’t know half of these companies existed or what they did.”"
"“There is currently a widespread need for employees with a broad range of knowledge and skills. This interdisciplinary degree will provide me with many of the skills I will need to succeed in the workplace environment. I am interested in the field of underwater bioacoustics. Particularly, I would like to investigate the use of echolocation in marine mammals, in order to better inform the management of anthropogenic noise in the ocean.”"