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The El Dorado High School's East Campus is a 40 acre satellite site featuring greenhouses, a garden, an orchard and a vineyard. A nearly ideal setting for high schoolers to design and conduct year-long scientific studies and service learning projects.
Kasey Cope and Slaney Stringer, seniors involved in the school's Natural Resources Program, have embarked on an ambitious, first-ever project for the Natural Resources Program to examine how the bird population on East Campus changes seasonally and understand which habitats they utilize during the year. Bioacoustics work is a central part of the project and the two will go about testing their hypothesis regarding seasonal bird population changes and migration activity as well as habitat use based on forest structure and plant biodiversity. Kasey and Slaney will use the Song Meter SM4 to collect the acoustic data and Kaleidoscope Pro software with acoustic Cluster Analysis to analyze the results.
While the study is important, the service aspect of the project carries equal weight. Cope and Stringer will submit the data to a public database to be shared with other students and community members. The two will present the results to local gardening groups for the sake of providing advice to improve local bird habitats. Finally ,the team will host over 200 elementary and middle school students at the East Campus to teach them the power of field science and communicate the importance of healthy habitats to support local wildlife.
India is home to over 120 species of bats but the most common species are poorly studied. Insectivorous bats located along the sub-tropical and temperate zones of the Himalayas may act as sentinels of warming climates. In this case, the Himalayas, are warming three times faster than the global average. However, the lack of comprehensive data on the trends of bat diversity, occurrence and activity compromises the effectiveness of using bats as bioindicators in the region. Mr. Chakravarty and Dr. Krishnan intend to address this information gap by examining how bat communities distribute and change along a Himalayan elevational gradient where field sites are located from 1400 to 3500 meters above sea level.
With the deployment of Song Meter SM4BAT recorders, the team will establish a long-term bat monitoring standard in the region. The team will train local field staff and students in acoustic monitoring techniques to gather as much acoustical data as quickly as possible. The results of the study will be shared for academic purposes, distributed for conservation initiatives targeting Himalayan biodiversity and used for citizen science and outreach activities for the sake of increased public engagement and awareness of bioacoustics in ecological research.
The Mediterranean basin is a world biodiversity hotspot. However, land use changes and evolving agrarian techniques are resulting in intense species population declines and local extinctions. Mediterranean species are faced with fragmented distribution ranges and substantially diminished conservation status. The Dupont's Lark is an example of the human-induced impact on biodiversity. Endemic to the Mediterranean steppe habitats and one of the most endangered passerines in Europe, this species decline is linked to habitat loss and a resulting highly fragmented distribution range.
Dr. Llusia's project goal will be to reinforce European conservation actions for the Dupont's Lark by providing new insights into the Iberian distribution and population structure of the species. The project will address the following; 1) identify potential habitat corridors across the Lark's range, 2) determine the absence and presence of the species in each corridor, 3) estimate the male population size of each study site and 4) establish conservation actions and priorities for new population and habitat corridors across the species' range, based on the project findings.
Multiple Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders will be deployed to collect the data and the results will be analyzed using Kaleidoscope Pro software. Dr. Llusia will use Kaleidoscope's acoustic Cluster Analysis to create his own species classifiers to quickly review and identify the species present in the recordings.
The project's results will be presented by the Terrestrial Ecology Group of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid to a panel of experts composed of members of Spanish national and regional administrators, technical staff, researchers and a variety of conservation groups.
"We can't protect our most vital bat habitats until we know where they are" explains Ruth Testa, manager of the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project.
Ruth's team will work with landowners to plan, fund and deliver enhancements to the bats' hedgerow and river corridor flight paths. They will look for the means to increase the volume of insect prey in the woods and farmlands where the animals feed.
The project will raise communities' interest in the bats living in their neighbourhoods and highlight their international importance. Ruth and her staff plan to engage at least 3000 people in citizen science work, and to protect and enhance greater horseshoe roosts and critical habitats identified by the volunteers.
Twenty Song Meter SM4BAT ultrasonic bioacoustics recorders will be made available for public loan from April to October. Each volunteer will deploy their borrowed detector for three nights and return the unit with memory card for analysis. Participants will receive reports highlighting the number of each bat species detected at their chosen sites, and the records will then be used to identify key greater horseshoe habitats in need of protection and practical conservation work. Ruth's team will work with landowners to plan, fund and deliver enhancements to the bats' hedgerow and river corridor flight paths, and to increase the volume of insect prey in the woods and farmlands where the animals feed.
Habitat loss, land conversion and fragmentation pose substantial worldwide threats to bat populations. The situation is particularly dire for bats in tropical rainforests. Tropical bats rely on intact forests for foraging and roosting. Dr. Schöner's team will combine research on sensory ecology, bat behavior and sociality with conservation data in a pilot program involving artificial bat roosts (ABRs).
The team will investigate; 1) whether certain species are more inclined to use ABRs, 2) discover if species less likely to use ABRs are generally more endangered because they rely heavily on certain roost characteristics, 3) verify if certain stimuli (acoustic, olfactory or a mix of both) promote ABR colonization, 4) examine what kind of bat echolocation calls are most effective in attracting colony members to ABRs and finally, 5) determine if there are differences in acceptance of ABRs depending upon forest conditions.
The researchers will deploy several Song Meter SM4BAT FS ultrasonic recorders in combination with video recorders in Osa, Costa Rica and the Soberania National Park, Panama. The Song Meters will capture echolocation and social calls of bats. Calls will be analyzed along with the video footage to understand which species only inspect ABRs, which stay, and observe how visiting bats react to other species in the area.
The research results will be used to support the implementation of artificial bat roosts in tropical forests and have potential for global deployment.
Thilina and Maria will be working with Massachusetts conservation authorities to conduct acoustic surveys in two habitats protected outside the state protected area network. The locations in the northeastern coastal plains of southeastern Massachusetts hold natural and ecological value because historical ranges of several bats and anuran taxa (frogs and toads) of conservation concern overlap with the state protected areas.
Confirmation of the historical records are critical for future conservation. Bats and anurans traverse across evolving landscapes for a variety of life-history functions (e.g. development, growth, maturation and reproduction) and the acoustic study will provide important insight into the effects of altered landscapes with these creatures.
The vocalization data captured by the Song Meters will be used to create acoustic idiocies of community diversity, species activity and soundscape complexity. The information will be shared with public and private stewards involved in local land management efforts.
Equipped with Echo Meter Touch iOS-powered bat detectors and a Song Meter SM4BAT FS ultrasonic bat recorder, high school geography, science teacher and outdoor educator, Jon Boxall and his team of high school citizen scientists will fan out through central Ontario and provincial parks to record bat echolocation calls. The data, collected from numerous overnight field trips will be tabulated and analyzed by the high schoolers using Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro bat analysis and auto-ID software.
Jon is thrilled about embarking on this project as it provides his students with critical and practical hands-on scientific, data gathering and analysis work. Jon's educational mission is to foster an understanding among his team of the importance of biodiversity and cultivate an appreciation among his new researchers of the pressures many bat species are facing. Just as important is that Jon, the Durham District School Board and the Uxbridge Secondary School Outers Club are helping to develop the next generation of bat biologists and conservators.
To showcase the critical value of citizen science work, students will submit their findings to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's Bat Researchers as well as the Natural Heritage Information staff. As this data is vital to expansion of a national data base, the student team will share the compiled data with the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat).
Aga (Corvus kubaryi), the critically endangered forest crow, is endemic to Guam and Rota of the Mariana Islands. Less than 200 individuals remain.
This bright and highly social crow relies heavily on the interaction of adult Agas to learn proper vocalizations and social behaviors.
Andria and her team will set about discretely deploying Song Meter SM3s and SM4s to capture the wild Aga's calls. Using Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro with acoustic Cluster Analysis, Andria will characterize and archive the calls and their behavioral contexts of nesting adult Aga and their young. She will then compare these to the vocalizations that young captive-reared Aga develop.
If differences between vocalizations of young wild-reared and captive-reared Aga are found, the curated calls may then be played back to captive-reared Aga eggs and hatchlings so that they may develop the appropriate use of vocalizations in their many contexts during their formative years.
Andria has been part of the field team working to manage and preserve this species since 2012. Ms. Kroner noted the study is poised to immediately provide usable findings in the recovery program, supporting the planned reintroductions to rescue this endangered species.
White Nose Syndrome (WNS) has devastated Northern long-eared bat populations across the northeast. Prior to 2015, this species was not known to be present on the tiny island of Nantucket. If this bat is both breeding and hibernating on the island, the Cape and Islands region could be providing a refuge from the impact of White Nose Syndrome for this federally listed species.
Danielle and her team will be deploying a Song Meter SM4BAT FS recorder to document the extent of the population of the long-eared bat on the island, locate potential hibernacula, and quantify and qualify habitat use during the breeding season.
The data gathered will be used to ensure that land management efforts by conservation organizations are compatible with providing quality habitat for both breeding and hibernating northern long-eared bats.
Florida Atlantic University's Dr. Rindy Anderson is an expert on the Bachman's sparrow. Our grant recipient believesthat bird song research is ideal for studying the function, evolution, and mechanisms of behavior. In temperate zones, male songbirds are the songsters, and so the songs and singing behaviors of males have been carefully studied for decades. Females also sing in some temperate species, and in many tropical species, but there is less research aimed at understanding why female songbirds sing, and how the songs of males and females differ in acoustic structure and behavioral function. In recent years, research on female song is gaining momentum and has become a hot topic in the avian world.
Dr. Anderson and her team will use acoustic recordings, song analysis, and song playback methods to study the songs of female Bachman's sparrows. Vital recordings of female song will be captured with the Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorder. These recordings, and the data they generate, will be used to compare the acoustic structure of female songs to male songs, and to test hypotheses about the adaptive value of female song in this species. Dr. Anderson hopes that the findings will be integral to the conservation efforts of this elusive and threatened species.
Toronto and Region Conservation's (TRCAs) Education and Community Engagement Team will lead the Bats In Your Backyardeducation program during the summer and fall of 2017. This Team and nearly 100 budding citizen scientists will collect quantitative and qualitative bat data at four Ontario region field conservation centres (Albion Hills Field Centre, Claremont Field Centre, Kortright Centre for Conservation and Lake St. George Field Centre) as well as in public spaces around the region. The volunteers will learn about bat ecology, the role of bats within their watersheds, and threats impacting local species of bats. They will also be involved in enhancing bat habitat by building roost structures, enhancing gardens, and initiating Public Service Announcement campaigns through social media.
TRCA's Education and Community Engagement Team are equipped with iPad-powered Echo Meter Touch bat detector systems. The volunteers will capture bat echolocation calls on the devices and share bat absence/presence data with TRCA's Terrestrial Inventories and Monitoring Team as well as other interested groups like the Toronto Zoo. Data captured by this project will provide baseline species presence data for future monitoring projects for the region.
Discovered nearly 50 years ago, the Tandayapa Andean Toad is one of the rarest anuran species in western Ecuador. Since 2014, hundreds of search hours have been spent trying to locate living individuals – all without success. But in 2012, Ryan's team discovered a small population in northwest Ecuador.
Understanding the geographic distribution of any species is critical to conservation efforts. Team Lynch will set out and deploy several Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders in the remote and rugged area of the Rio Manduriacu Reserve to determine the geographic extent of the only known living population of the Tandayapa Andean Toad and identify other potential populations. The Song Meter SM4s will allow his team to better determine the extent of this population and increase the group's ability to detect species across the landscape in a resource-efficient manner.
The project will have an immediate and profound impact on the conservation of a species that is on the brink of extinction. To that end, the data collected by the Song Meters will be analyzed using Kaleidoscope Pro with its new acoustic Cluster Analysis. The results will be shared with the global research and conservation communities.
Dr. Comer is a professor of Forest and Wildlife Management in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University. He teaches roughly 200 undergraduates each year and incorporates extensive field-based, hands-on learning opportunities addressing a variety of wildlife research and management techniques, including acoustic monitoring.
Working in conjunction with the Texas Pollinator PowWow of Nacogdoces, Christopher will be using iPad-powered Echo Meter Touch bat detectors to lead almost 300 bat walk participants in a spring time, guided night hike while acoustically identifying bats. This large-scale education and outreach project is designed to increase the awareness of bat ecology and bat conservation among attendees of current and future PowWows. Just as important, the acoustic data will determine a baseline species occurrence list for public conservation properties in the area. The equipment will also be used in support of research projects examining the relationships between bat occurrence and various vegetation characteristics in forested communities.
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains is home to the world's largest diversity of frog species, but many threatened species have suffered populations collapses because of the fungal disease, chytridiomycosis.
Dr. Catenazzi will use Song Meter acoustic recorders and Kaleidoscope Pro software to collect and analyze frog vocalization data covering six threatened species listed on the IUCN Red list. The results will be used to locate environmental refugia where frogs that are highly susceptible to chytridiomycosis can persist. Discoveries of surviving populations will be shared with governmental and non-governmental organizations to guide future conservation efforts. Alessandro's team will use the data to improve Red List assessments for species affected by this deadly fungus.
Alessandro will share his findings in peer-reviewed scientific publications, social media and a blog featured by AmphibiaWeb.