Recipients of the Wildlife Acoustics Scientific Product Grant

2017, 2nd Quarter

Andria Kroner

Andria Kroner
Binghamton University

Effects of captive rearing on vocal development of the Aga (Corvus kubaryi)

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.

Danielle O'Dell

Danielle O'Dell
Nantucket Conservation Foundation

Documentation of breeding and winter habitat use by Northern long-eared bats on Nantucket Island, MA

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.

Jon Boxall

Jon Boxall
Uxbridge Secondary School, Durham District School Board

Bat Education with High School Students

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).

Rindy Anderson

Rindy Anderson
Florida Atlantic University

Testing the function of female song in the Bachman's sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis)

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.

Amy Thurston

Amy Thurston
Toronto and Region Conservation Community Engagement Team

Bats In Your Backyard

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.

2017, 1st Quarter

Ryan Lynch

Ryan Lynch
Third Millennium Alliance

Population monitoring of the long lost and thought extinct Tandayapa Andean Toad (Rhaebo olallai) in Northwest Equador.

» Read Progress Reports

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.

Christopher E. Comer

Christopher E. Comer
Stephen F. Austin State University – Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Nacogdoches, TX

Texas Pollinator PowWow Bat Education.

» Read Progress Reports

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.

Caroline Casey

Caroline Casey
Pinniped Cognition and Sensory System Laboratory University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

Decoding the Signals of Giants. Exploring the Acoustic Behavior of the Northern Elephant Seal.

» Read Progress Reports

Northern Elephant Seals congregate in great numbers in predictable breeding locations each year. Given the conditions, Caroline will use Kaleidoscope Pro analysis software to analyze close range recordings of acoustic displays emitted during competitive interacations and characterize the seals' individual and regional differences. The last wide-range recordings are available from 1968 to 1972 when the population was less than 40,000 individuals. Since the new population exceeds 175,000, this is a unique opportunity to examine how male vocal signals have changed during the seals' recovery from near extinction.

Caroline will explore how call patterns will vary from colony to colony. She will test the hypothesis that there are site specific differences in vocalizations and that the amount of acoustic variation in the population has shifted from low inter-individual variation at each site to one of significant vocal diversity.

Caroline will share her results with the scientific community in order to educate the general public on the behavior and biology of these magnificent creatures.

Alessandro Catenazzi

Alessandro Catenazzi
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

Escape from deadly disease: Can environmental refugia save tropical mountain frogs from extinction?

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.

2016, 4th Quarter

Mark Bowler

Mark Bowler
San Diego Zoo Global Institute
of Conservation Research

» Read Progress Reports

Monitoring the hunting of large Amazonian mammals and birds using remote acoustic recorders to locate gunshots.

Mark and his team will be deploying an array of Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders to listen for shots fired by hunters in the Sucusari, Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area (MRCA), Loreto, Peru. The recorders will monitor the spatial and temporal distribution of indigenous hunting, and also detect unauthorized and illegal hunting in the MRCA. The work will enable effective management and protection of hunted species, and help develop a cost effective monitoring method that can be deployed in the Amazon and other parts of the world.

Mark will be using Kaleidoscope Pro with its new acoustic Cluster Analysis feature to analyze the recordings, create anthropogenic soundscapes and determine the occupancy of selected mammals and birds.

Dr. Darren S Proppe

Dr. Darren S Proppe
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI

Testing the ability of Kaleidoscope Pro software to detect and cluster sounds embedded within anthropogenic noise.

» Read Progress Reports

Deploying Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders and exercising the power of Kaleidoscope Pro 4.1's acoustic Cluster Analysis feature, Darren will explore the temporal variation in songbird vocal behavior, and investigate the ability to detect vocal patterns in anthropogenic-induced, noisy environments. Dr. Proppe will share the results of his study with other research biologists and wildlife managers to understand songbird acoustic patterns, and the capability to detect these patterns with passive acoustic recorders, when subjected to anthropogenic noise.

The results will also be used as part of an experimental dataset, using noise playback to assess the singing rates for 19 species of songbirds in the field.

Dr. Eric Baitchman, DVM, DACZM

Dr. Eric Baitchman, DVM, DACZM
Zoo New England
Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, MA

Franklin Park Zoo Biodiversity Project

» Read Progress Reports

The topic of urban biodiversity and conservation has recently attracted interest among biologists and citizen scientists alike. With the help of community volunteers and school children, Zoo New England and Grassroots Wildlife Conservation, Inc, will spread out among the 65 acre "Wilderness" portion of Franklin Park with Echo Meter Touch bat detector|recorder|analyzer systems to explore the world of bats as part of a biodiversity survey project in the park.

Zoo New England staff will serve as ambassadors and stewards of the park fauna and will work with school children and citizen scientists to uncover biodiversity within their midst.

Data will be collected by visual observation and listening for animal vocalizations and recording them on suitable smart phone apps. In addition to identifying data, locations will be GPS tagged. The Echo Meter Touch allows Zoo staff to include the ecologically important taxa of bats, which they would not otherwise be able to survey, and is well suited to on-site bat work as volunteers can record, play back and see bat echolocation calls on a spectrogram on their iPhones, iPads or iPods.

Susan Wethington

Susan Wethington
Hummingbird Monitoring Network

Detecting how weather, plant phenology and abundance of available nectar influence hummingbird migration

» Read Progress Reports

Hummingbirds face accelerated habitat loss and degradation because of extensive agriculture, urban sprawl and climate change. Given that they're pollinators, they depend almost entirely upon nectar for their energy supply, and their survival is affected by the reliable, year-round sources of nectar-producing plants.

Susan and her team of high school students will use Kaleidoscope Pro 4.1 software with acoustic Cluster Analysis to analyze field data captured during hummingbird migration, and create hummingbird classifiers. The study will investigate the following factors; whether flower plant and nectar abundance affects migration, if bird abundance is related to availability of nectar and patch size, and finally, do weather events affect migration.

Research results will be shared with Hummingbird Monitoring Network to further its work in the conservation of hummingbird diversity and abundance.

Amy K. Wray

Amy K. Wray
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Effects of White Nose Syndrome on bat activity, diet composition and insect abundance in Southern Wisconsin

» Read Progress Reports

The arrival of White Nose Syndrome provides a unique circumstance to better understand the role of bats as biological control agents of agricultural pests. Amy and her team will be collecting bat echolocation call data from Song Meters deployed at 20 roost sites in southwestern Wisconsin. Using Kaleidoscope Pro analysis software, the data will be used to provide a better estimate of the regional and local pest control benefits brought by big brown and little brown bats.

The results will help to refine management strategies and promote bat conservation in Wisconsin as well as throughout the Midwest.

2016, 3rd Quarter

Dr. Lindsey Swierk Dr. Jennifer Tennessen

Dr. Lindsey Swierk and Dr. Jennifer Tennessen, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Understanding amphibian responses to noisy suburban habitats

» Read Progress Reports

According to recent studies, one-third of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Suburbanization and associated noise pollution can drive amphibian decline. Drs. Swierk and Tennessen will embark on a multi-year project, using Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders to monitor entire seasons of frog chorusing behavior at suburban and forested ponds. Using both Song Scope and the new Kaleidoscope Pro 4 analysis software, the team will create song scapes to compare visual representations of ambient sounds, documenting chorus-wide interruptions and examining changes in chorus frequencies as adaptations to noisy suburban habitats.

This is important work as there is a shortage of research available addressing the effects of noise pollution on individual frog species and populations . The study will shed light on species' responses to changing environments and promote public awareness of amphibian conservation. The project will also be part of an urban/suburban conservation education experience for high school students in the Yale Peabody Museum's EVOLUTIONS After School Program.

Dr. Amy Belaire

Dr. Amy Belaire , St. Edward's University, Wild Basin Creative Research Center, Austin, TX

Wild Basin Acoustic Biodiversity Project

» Read Progress Reports

Wild Basin is a 227 acre natural area, located within a ten minute drive outside of Austin, TX. Dr. Belaire, Wild Basin staff, and a team of university student interns will deploy Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders at Wild Basin to track changes in bird and anuran communities as the surrounding landscape becomes increasingly urbanized. Dr. Belaire's team will analyze the Song Meter SM4 data using Wildlife Acoustics' new Kaleidoscope Pro 4 software.

Project results will be shared with the scientific community through various publications. Just as important, the study and its methods will be shared with K-12 audiences and the general public in several different ways, including videos that share the process of acoustic data collection and analysis with local classrooms. Datasets will also be shared on the Wild Basin website as part of an educator/student virtual field station. Finally, using QR codes on Wild Basin trail markers, the roughly 10,000 (annual) visitors to the preserve may use their smart phones to learn about the collected vocalizations and interpretive information.

Cameron Brown

Cameron Brown, Save Tootgarook Swamp, Inc., Victoria, Australia

Australasian Bittern Project

» Read Progress Reports

The Australasian Bittern is a threatened species which is listed on the International Union for Conservation (ICUN) red data list as well as on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) as Endangered. Tootgarook Swamp is one of the few natural freshwater wetlands remaining on the Mornington Peninsula and serves as protective habitat for a species with an Australian population of less than 1000. The bittern is a highly cryptic and secretive species and last year's discovery of calling birds at the wetlands was a significant event. The most effective way to monitor bitterns is to listen for calling birds from evening through to dawn. Mr. Brown will use Kaleidoscope Pro 4 analysis software to detect the distinctive low-frequency booming call of the male bittern from the Song Meter recordings.

Since the call analysis is a critical indicator of the birds establishing breeding territories, the study results will be central to the protection of Bittern habitat and to the reversal of the bird's population decline. To that end, the survey will be shared with Birdlife Australia and the Save Tootgarook Swamp organization to seek further local government planning action, such as feral animal control.

2016, 2nd Quarter

Dr. David C. Lahti

Dr. David C. Lahti, Queens College, City University of New York

Capturing song diversity in African weaverbirds

» Read Progress Reports

Weaverbirds are renowned for their extraordinarily long and complex songs. Dr. Lahti will be using the Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorder to discretely capture the song repertoires of several individual weaverbirds of six different species. The recordings will be used to perform a detailed analysis of song culture diversity at three different scales: within the individual, between-individuals, and between species-called the macroevolution of song.

This research is unique in that very few studies have ever addressed the concept of song diversity resulting from social learning. David hopes to prove that song diversity can indicate rare morphs and subspecies at least as effectively, and more cheaply than genetic methods can. Dr. Lahti will make individual weaverbird songs available for public use because they will be of higher quality and more specific than colony-wide songs.

Miguel Ordeñana

Miguel Ordeñana, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Large Scale Urban Bat Ecology Study.

» Read Progress Reports

Miguel's work will be the first large-scale study of bat habitat usage in urban and suburban settings. As part of the museum's SuperProject; the world's largest urban biodiversity inventory, citizen science teams will use Song Meter SM4BAT FS recorders and Kaleidoscope Pro software to collect and analyze data from some of the 200 "super sites" . The results will be used as part of a baseline study to determine the effects of forage availability, proximity to the urban edge, climate, land use, and land cover on bat activity levels and species richness. Researchers will use the long-term, baseline data with respect to the response of bats to urbanization and other environmental variables in Southern California.

The results of the study will provide data that can inform property owners and city planners how to provide suitable roosting and foraging habitat for Southern California bat species in urban areas or land undergoing urbanization in varying habitats and in varying proximities to the urban edge.

2016, 1st Quarter

Dr. Karen Fisher Favret

Dr. Karen Fisher Favret, École Étoile filante/Spatial Temporal Earth Website, Montreal, Canada

Training 1st through 6th graders to become bioacousticians through the creation of My Soundscape stations.

» Read Progress Reports

Dr. Fisher Favret's pilot program will introduce elementary school students to soundscape ecology and the concept of Citizen Science. She and her student teams, in grades 1-6, will use Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders; equipped with cabled hydrophones and the Echo Meter Touch bat detector/recorder/analyzer with Bat Conservation International's Discover Bats! curriculum guide, to explore the marvels of biophony, geophony and anthrophony. Teacher and student teams will conduct soundscape analysis and create classroom content. Karen and her budding biacousticians will use Song Scope software to analyze the acoustic results. The resources and findings will be shared with other schools in Montreal and then in remote areas to support the creation of additional My Soundscape stations.

Adao Henrique Rosa Domingos

Adao Henrique Rosa Domingos, IPBio-Biodiversity Research Institute, Atlantic Forest Research Center/ Betary Reserve, Sáo Paulo, Brazil

Constructing a globally accessible soundbank for Brazil's five ecosystems.

» Read Progress Reports

Mr. Domingos, biologist at the Biodiversity Research Institute (IPBio- Instituto de Pesquisa da Biodiversidade), will be collecting bioacoustics data in the Altantic Forest and offer it through the Observatory for Biodiversity (OBBIO) global network. The Research Institute, located on the Betary Reserve which was constructed by IPBio, is the first station in a larger plan to develop monitoring stations in all of Brazil's five ecosystems. The Betary Reserve will be the first site to use Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders. The data will be used to evaluate the area's species richness, its quantity distribution, habitat use and behavioral patterns. The findings will also be published in wide variety of conferences and scientific journals and incorporated into Ebooks. Song Scope analysis software will be used for compiling and analyzing results.

2015, 4th Quarter

Dr. Jessica Bryant

Dr. Jessica Bryant, the Zoological Society of London

Detecting the world's rarest ape: improving monitoring efforts for the Hainan gibbon.

» Read Progress Reports

Dr. Bryant and the Zoological Society of London will use Song Meter SM3 recorders in the rugged regions of the Bawangling National Nature Reserve on Hainan Island to monitor the world's rarest ape and one of the world's rarest mammals, the Critically Endangered Hainan gibbon. Song Meters will be used to detect the existing gibbon groups and monitor their movements within the reserve. Song Scope analysis software will be used to analyse the results.

Bryan Bedrosian

Bryan Bedrosian, Teton Raptor Center

Understanding forest raptor dynamics in the southern Yellowstone Ecosystem.

» Read Progress Reports

Mr. Bedrosian will be using Song Meter SM3 acoustic recorders to conduct the first study on the community dynamics of boreal raptors of the southern region of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Song Meters will be deployed throughout the area to collect night call data from different species of owls followed by pre-dawn surveys of goshawks. The results will be analyzed using Song Scope analysis software.

2015, 3rd Quarter

Dr. Desley Whisson

Dr. Desley Whisson, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

Koala Population Density Study

» Read Progress Reports

Dr. Whisson will be using bioacoustic monitoring to detect the presence of koalas. The project aims to correlate vocalization activity with relative koala population density. Dr. Whisson will be deploying Song Meter SM3 acoustic recorders in Victoria's Otway Ranges to capture male koala vocalization data. The results will be analyzed using Song Scope analysis software.

Mark Danaher of Florida Panther Refuge

Mark Danaher, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge

Florida Bonneted Bat Research

» Read Progress Reports

The refuge has partnered with researchers from the University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge to learn more about the natural history of the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus). The team of collaborators will be using the Song Meter SM3BAT detector/recorder, the Echo Meter Touch bat detector/recorder/analyser and Kaleidoscope Pro 3 analysis software to discover more about the location and behavior of what is considered to be one of North America's rarest mammals.

Wildlife Acoustics is proud to support wildlife conservation efforts

Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation Orginization for Bat Conservation Bat Conservation International Bat Conservation Trust