Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Founded by Garth Paine and Sabine Feisst in 2015, the Acoustic Ecology Lab at Arizona State University (AELab@ASU) is a forum for interdisciplinary collaboration to examine sonic environments through intersections between the arts, sciences, humanities and new technologies.

AELab brings together faculty and students from Arts, Media, and Engineering, the School of Music, the School of International Letters and Cultures, the Institute for Humanities Research, the Global Institute of Sustainability, the School of Life Sciences, the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, and the Biomimicry Center.

Capitalizing on the power and beauty of environmental sound, AELab explores sonic environments through new ways of listening to the land, innovative field recording technologies, interactive sound archives and maps, long-term monitoring and analysis of sonic environments, creative placemaking (musical concerts, audio-visual installations, virtual reality experiences, and sonic story telling), community engagement, and redesign of industrial and urban sound sources impacting livability and wellbeing of human and non-human species.


Sound is a critical environmental signifier. Environmental listening serves as a tool to advance environmental literacy and bioregional knowledge. Changes in the environment are often heard before they can be seen. Thus sound is a powerful indicator of environmental degradation and an eminently effective tool in the development of more sustainable ecosystems. Environmental sound, in both unmediated and creatively processed form, has touched audiences near and far throughout the ages. In the face of unprecedented environmental challenges, AELab aims at using sound to advance environmental awareness and stewardship whilst providing critical tools for deeper consideration of sound in urban and industrial design.

Following ASU’s mission to promote social embeddedness, AELab seeks to build large and diverse communities of listeners and emphasizes community engagement through listening and field recording workshops and community art projects in parks and nature preserves throughout the American Southwest (McDowell-Sonoran Preserve, Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed, Death Valley National Park, Jornada Experimental Range, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park). Beyond that AELab also seeks to engage global communities, including mobility-impaired audiences unable to experience the sounds of the American Southwest in person, through a publicly accessible listening database, sound maps and virtual reality experiences (EcoRift).