Wolf Vocalization & Communication Research

How is Data Processed and Analyzed?

All fieldwork experiments are recorded in their entierty and from various positions, using Zoom H2n studio grade recorders, coupled with 18" and 20" parabolic recievers. Each recording of a session is carefully scrutinized so that only the best quality sound segments are used. These recordings are then entered into the Wavelab LE7 computer software program. Specific vocals are isolated and transformed into graphs which display the encoded information and data.

Comparisons of the graphs helps to determine any similarity or discrepancies in the vocals captured  within the sound recordings.  Similar graphs are documented and grouped together for further examination.  Discrepancies are documented, catalogued and archived for future use.  Each voice graph is adjusted for equality in frequency, fidelity and amplitude.  This allows for a more accurate comparison between the graphs and aids in the elimination of ambient and white noise revealing the coded information contained within.

When similarities are discovered among different graphs, investigators check documented information in order to determine the background of each recorded vocal.  This would include such details as where and when the recording took place and what events occurred that led to the elicitation of that specific response.  This information is used to pin-point stimuli and response sequences, as well as helping to determine a perceived meaning of the specific call or perhaps, the presence of dialect.  What happens prior to the response and what follows, is pertinent information that tells investigators the reason those particular vocals occurred.

We have four main species of North America wolf left to be studies and countless more regions of wolf habitat to explore.  Although we have tested our theory of "wolf language" throughout many of these regions, we have only begun to scratch the surface.  In 2011, we began to take a more scientific approach to our studies and focused efforts towards a distinct species of wolf (Canis lycaons) located in Algonquin Provincial Park and the north/central regions of Ontario, Canada.

We attempt to collect eight calls in 4 sessions from 4 different groups within the same geographical region in all 4 seasons.  These numbers translate to 32 recorded calls per grouping, which totals 128 recordings in the four quadrant areas.  This equate s to 512 recorded calls overall and representative of the usable data for only one species group in one region.  That's a lot of recordings and a lot of work.  Hopefully, we will be able to complete most of it before our time runs out.  Only time will tell.