Cormac Booth

Ursula Verfuss

Principal Scientist · Bioacoustics (Europe)


Lead scientist and project manager for projects involving the effects of offshore industry on marine mammals. Provides specialist input into EIA’s and provides data and advice for mitigation studies relating to impacts on marine mammals.

Degrees and Education

  • 2009 University of Tübingen, Germany PhD Animal Physiology Excellent. The echolocation behaviour of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)
  • 1996 University of Tübingen, Germany Graduate Study (Diploma) Excellent. Foraging and echolocation behaviour of an Amazon  River dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) in captivity.
  • 1991 University of Münster, Germany. Basic Study Biology (Diploma) Excellent.


26 years’ experience studying and working within the marine mammal field. A wide range of practical, analytical and management skills developed through involvement with many European projects.

  • Extensive experience in underwater acoustics and bioacoustics, including passive acoustic monitoring (using various devices), of marine mammals throughout northern European waters.
  • Vast experience in different monitoring types and strategies through comparative studies of monitoring methods (e.g., visual, infra-red, passive and active acoustics).
  • Team leader of the Harbour porpoise research team at the German Oceanographic Museum, Stralsund, Germany.
  • Scientific advisor to the “Standard Investigation of the impacts of offshore wind turbines on the marine environment” (StUK 3, StUK 4) for the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency.
  • Scientific contributor for international agreements on cetacean conservation (ASCOBANS, HELCOM, ICES)
  • Organisation of several workshops and conferences, including an international symposium “Towards an environmentally sound offshore wind energy deployment” in January 2012.
  • Nine years board member of the European Cetacean Society.


  • Verfuss, U.K., Sinclair, R.R., and Sparling, C.E. (2019). A review of noise abatement systems for offshore wind farm construction noise, and the potential for their application in Scottish waters. In Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 1070.
  • Verfuss, U.K., Aniceto, A.S., Harris, D.V., Gillespie, D., Fielding, S., Jiménez, G., Johnston, P., Sinclair, R.R., Sivertsen, A., Solbø, S.A., et al. (2019). A review of unmanned vehicles for the detection and monitoring of marine fauna. Marine Pollution Bulletin 140, 17-29.


  • Verfuss, U.K., Gillespie, D., Gordon, J., Marques, T.A., Miller, B., Plunkett, R., Theriault, J.A., Tollit, D.J., Zitterbart, D.P., Hubert, P., et al. (2018). Comparing methods suitable for monitoring marine mammals in low visibility conditions during seismic surveys. Marine Pollution Bulletin 126, 1-18.


  • Sparling, C., Verfuß, U.K., and Plunkett, R. (2017). Moray West: Marine Mammal Noise Impact Assessment Proposed Methodology. Report to Moray Offshore Windfarm (West) Limited.
  • Booth, C.G., Oedekoven, C.S., Gillespie, D., Macaulay, J., Plunkett, R., Joy, R., Harris, D., Wood, J., Marques, T.A., Marshall, L., et al. (2017). Assessing the viability of applying DECAF for long term oil and gas monitoring. Volume SMRUC-OGP-2017-001. (SMRU Consulting).


  • Verfuss, U.K., Sparling, C.E., Arnot, C., Judd, A., and Coyle, M. (2016). Review of Offshore Wind Farm Impact Monitoring and Mitigation with Regard to Marine Mammals. In The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II, N.A. Popper and A. Hawkins, eds. (New York, NY: Springer New York), pp. 1175-1182.
  • Verfuss, U.K., Plunkett, R., Booth, C.G., and Harwood, J. (2016). Assessing the benefit of noise reduction measures during offshore wind farm construction on harbour porpoises. (WWF-UK).
  • Verfuss, U., Gillespie, D., Gordon, J., Marques, T., Miller, B., Plunkett, R., Theriault, J., Tollit, D., Zitterbart, D., Hubert, P., et al. (2016). Low Visibility Real-Time Monitoring Techniques Review.
  • Tregenza, N., Dawson, S., Rayment, W., and Verfuss, U. (2016). Listening to echolocation clicks with PODs. In Listening in the Ocean. New discoveries and insights on marine life from autonomous passive acoustic recorders. (New York, Heidelberg, Dordrecht, London: Springer), pp. 163-206.
  • Schaffeld, T., Bräger, S., Gallus, A., Dähne, M., Krügel, K., Herrmann, A., Jabbusch, M., Ruf, T., Verfuß, U.K., and Benke, H. (2016). Diel and seasonal patterns in acoustic presence and foraging behaviour of free-ranging harbour porpoises. Marine Ecology Progress Series 547, 257-272.


  • Verfuss, U.K., Aniceto, A.S., Biuw, M., Fielding, S., Gillespie, D., Harris, D., Jimenez, G., Johnston, P., Plunkett, R., Sivertsen, A., et al. (2015). Literature Review: Understanding The Current State Of Autonomous Technologies To Improve/Expand Observation And Detection Of Marine Species. Report number SMRUC-OGP2015015 provided to IOGP, july 2016
  • Verfuss, U.K., Andersson, M., Folegot, T., Laanearu, J., Matuschek, R., Pajala, J., Sigray, P., Tegowski, J., and Tougaard, J. (2015). BIAS standards for noise measurements. Background information, guidelines and quality assurance. Amended version., p. 67.


  • Benke, H., Bräger, S., Dähne, M., Gallus, A., Hansen, S., Honnef, C. G., Jabbusch, M., Koblitz, J. C., Krügel, K., Liebschner, A., Narberhaus, I. & Verfuß, U. K. (2014):  Baltic Sea harbour porpoise populations: Status and conservation needs derived from recent survey results. Marine Ecology Progress Series.


  • Dähne, M., Verfuß, U. K., Brandecker, A., Siebert, U. & Benke, H. (2013): Methodology and results of calibration of tonal click detectors for small odontocetes (C-PODs).  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 134: 2514-2522.
  • Verfuß, U. K., Dähne, M., Gallus, A., Jabbusch, M. & Benke, H. (2013): Determining the detection thresholds for harbor porpoise clicks of autonomous data loggers, the Timing Porpoise Detectors. Journal of the acoustical society of America 134: 2462-2468.


  • Gallus, A., Dähne, M., Verfuß, U. K., Bräger, S., Adler, S., Siebert, U. & Benke, H. (2012): Use of static passive acoustic monitoring to assess the status of the ‘Critically Endangered’ Baltic harbour porpoise in German waters. Endangered Species Research 18: 265-278.


  • Simon, M., Nuuttila, H., Reyes‐Zamudio, M. M., Ugarte, F., Verfuß, U. K. & Evans, P. H. (2010): Passive acoustic monitoring of bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise with implications for habitat use and partitioning. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 90: 1539-1545.
  • Verfuß, U.K., Adler, S., Brandecker, A., Dähne, M., Diederichs, A., Gallus, A., Herrmann, A., Krügel, K., Lucke, K., Teilmann, J., Tougaard, J., Tregenza, N. & Benke (2010). AMPOD: Applications and analysis methods for the deployment of T‐PODs in environmental impact studies for wind farms: Comparability and development of standard methods. FKZ 0327587. Final report to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Deutsches Meeresmuseum, Stralsund.


  • Verfuß, U. K., Bräger, S., Dähne, M. & Benke, H. (2009): 4.1. Harbour porpoise. In: Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea. An integrated thematic assessment on biodiversity and nature conservation in the Baltic Sea. Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings.
  • Verfuß, U. K., Miller, L. A., Pilz, P. K. D. & Schnitzler, H.‐U. (2009): Echolocation by two foraging harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). The Journal of Experimental Biology 212(6): 823‐834.


  • Verfuß, U. K., Honnef, C. G., Meding, A., Dähne, M., Adler, S., Kilian, A. & Benke, H. (2008): The history of the German Baltic Sea harbour porpoise acoustic monitoring at the German Oceanographic Museum. In: Wollny‐Goerke K. & Eskildsen K. (Eds.): Marine warm‐blooded animals in North and Baltic Seas, MINOS – Marine mammals and seabirds in front of offshore wind energy. Teubner Verlag. Wiesbaden: 41‐56.
  • Diederichs, A., Nehls, G., Dähne, M., Adler, S., Koschinski, S., and Verfuß, U., (2008). Methodologies for measuring and assessing potential changes in marine mammal behaviour, abundance or distribution arising from the construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore windfarms. COWRIE Ltd.


  • Verfuß, U. K., Honnef, C. G., Meding, A., Dähne, M., Mundry, R. & Benke, H. (2007): Geographical and seasonal variation of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) presence in the German Baltic Sea revealed by passive acoustic monitoring. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 87: 165‐176.
  • Rye, J. H., Gilles, A., and Verfuß, U., (2007). Linking wind farms and harbour porpoises: A review of methods. In Proceedings of the ASCOBANS/ECS workshop ‐ Offshore wind farms and marine mammals: Impact and methodologies for assessing impacts no. ECS Publication Series No. 49 (ed. Evans, P. G. H.) pp. 21‐26. San Sebastian, Spain: ECS ‐ 21st Annual Conference.
  • Verfuß, U. K., Dähne, M., Diederichs, A. & Benke, H. (2007). Applications and analytical methods for T‐POD deployment in environmental impact studies for wind farms: comparability and development of standard methods. In: Evans, P. G. H. (Eds.): Proceedings of the ECS/ASCOBANS Workshop on “Wind farms and marine mammals”. San Sebastian, Spain. S. 27‐31.
  • Verfuß, U. K., Benke, H., Dähne, M., Gilles, A., Herr, H., Honnef, C. G., Lehnert, K., Meding, A., Scheidat, M., & Siebert, U. (2007). Abundance estimates and habitat use of harbour porpoises in the German North and Baltic Seas. In 2nd Scientific Conference on the Use of Offshore Wind Energy by the Federal Ministry for the Environment 20. and 21. February 2007 in Berlin, Conference Proceedings (0327608) (Eds. Morkel, L., Toland, A., Wende, W., and Köppel, J.), pp. 47‐54. Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Forschungszentrum Jülich ‐ Projektträger Jülich (PtJ).


  • Siebert, U., Benke, H., Dehnhardt, G., Gilles, A., Hanke, W., Honnef, C. G., Lucke, K., Ludwig, S., Scheidat, M. & Verfuß, U. K. (2006): Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) investigation of density, distribution patterns, habitat use and acoustics in the German North and Baltic Seas. In: Köller, J., Köppel, J. & Peters, W. (Eds.): Offshore Wind Energy. Research on Environmental Impacts. Springer Verlag. Heidelberg: 37‐64.
  • Verfuß, U. K., Honnef, C. G. & Benke, H. (2006): Seasonal and geographical variation of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) habitat use in the German Baltic Sea monitored by passive acoustic methods (PODs). In: Von Nordheim, H., Boedecker, D. & Krause, J.C. (Eds.): Progress in Marine Conservation in Europe. Springer Verlag. Heidelberg: 209‐224.
  • Götz, T., Verfuß, U. K. & Schnitzler, H.‐U. (2006): ‚Eavesdropping‘ in wild rough‐toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis)? Biology Letters 2(1): 5‐7.


  • Verfuß, U. K., Miller, L. A. & Schnitzler, H. U. (2005): Spatial orientation in echolocating harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). The Journal of Experimental Biology 208(17): 3385-3394.
  • TCE/NIRAS Noise Abatement Review
  • BSH Specialist Information System Support
  • SNH Noise Abatement Systems Review
  • IOGP Marine Animal Monitoring with Autonomous Vehicles
  • IOGP Low Visibility Real Time Monitoring
  • South Stream Offshore Pipeline
  • Invergordon PAM Monitoring
  • Invergordon Real Time PAM Mitigation
  • EOWDC Bottlenose Dolphin Movement

+44 (0)1334 466011

New Technology Centre
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9SR