2018, 3rd Quarter
University of Ruhana, Department of Agricultural Biology
Bats in tea: Acoustic identification of bats in plantation agriculture landscape and their conservation monitoring
Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, behind water. Sri Lanka is the world's fourth largest tea producer – and bats play an important role in tea production.
"Bats are the principal natural predators, playing a significant role in regulating nocturnal insect pests," explains Tharaka Kusuminda. "Just as important, they are also effective bio-indicators of biodiversity and environmental change." However, there is little research on bat diversity in tea plantations in specific and little understanding of the effects of agricultural intensification on Sri Lankan bat populations, in general.
Mr. Kusuminda's team will launch the first large scale bat study in Sri Lanka using passive ultrasonic recorders. Covering fourteen tea plantations, his work will showcase the importance of bioacoustics recording methodologies. The collected and analyzed data will expand an existing Asian bat call library and establish a second, long-term acoustic study which will examine the effects of anthropogenic pressure on species distribution and abundance in tea plantations. The projects results will ultimately be used for finding ways to make plantation lands more bat friendly in order benefit from the bats' free ecosystem services.
Using the Echo Meter Touch 2 PRO handheld bat detector|recorder|analyzer, the researchers will identify suitable plantation recording sites with potential flight paths. The sites will then be equipped with Song Meter SM4BAT FS ultrasonic detectors to record bat echolocations in the areas over many weeks. The analysis work will be completed with Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro 5 software.
Kusuminda's efforts will also support the University of Ruhana academic capacity building and guide interested undergraduate and graduate students in field research. Finally, the findings will also be shared in international peer-reviewed journals and community outreach efforts.
Professor Aliza le Roux
University of the Free State – Qwaqwa Campus
The flying fauna of a montane wetland
High altitude wetlands in Africa are under threat from human activities. While mountains provide most of Africa's fresh water and montane wetlands provide habitat for many endemic species, almost nothing is known of the fauna that reside in the area. A 2018 National Biodiversity Assessment of South Africa suggests that documentation of biodiversity of montane wetlands must start immediately as human encroachment is quickly reducing the size of wetland areas.
Golden Gate Highland National Park (GGHNP) is the only National Park in South Africa that protects high-altitude grasslands and is an area considered vital to bird conservation. Within this park is an unmonitored wetland that may host some of the rarest bird and bat species in South Africa and Professor Aliza le Roux suspects that, "the isolated wetland may host a larger number of unique species in comparison to more accessible wetlands elsewhere."
Professor le Roux's project is the first in South Africa to monitor montane biodiversity using a soundscape approach. Equipped with Song Meter SM4 wildlife recorders and the Echo Meter Touch 2 handheld detector|recorder|analyzer, le Roux's team plans to record and highlight the faunal diversity (both avian and chiropteran) of what is considered undervalued wetland. The many hours of recordings will be quickly organized and analyzed using Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro 5 software with Cluster analysis. The acoustic data will be compared with information collected via camera traps deployed at the sites. Aliza says the camera traps visually confirm variation in species indices, but, "I expect a significantly richer data set from the Song Meters and Echo Meter Touch bat detectors."
Aliza's results will shared with GGNHP management the local district municipality, traditional leaders in the area and the Department of Environmental Affairs with the long-term strategy of improving ecotourism in one of the poorest regions of South Africa.
Dr. Lindsay Young
Pacific Rim Conservation
Surveys for endangered Newell's Shearwaters and vulnerable Hawai'ian Petrels on the island of O'ahu
Hawai'i's only endemic seabirds, the Newell's Shearwater and Hawai'ian Petrel, are nest burrowers, have no natural defenses against predators such as rats and feral cats, and as a result, are threatened and endangered. In the past twenty years alone, their populations have declined by 94% and 78%, respectively.
Dr. Young's plan is to search between three and five sites on the island of O'ahu, for the presence of Newell's Shearwater and the Hawai'ian Petrel and to determine whether birds detected in previous surveys are prospecting or breeding on the island. She will deploy several Song Meter SM4 wildlife recorders at sites where birds had been detected. The sites will be visited monthly and the data will be downloaded and quickly analyzed using Kaleidoscope Pro 5 software with Acoustic Cluster analysis. She and her team will combine the acoustic data with visual and ground search efforts to locate possible burrows.
The data will be presented to land managers so that conservation and management decisions can be made in a timely fashion. If birds are found nesting in the areas, intensive management plans, monitoring and predator control will be established to protect the breeding birds.
2018, 2nd Quarter
Community Cloud Forest Conservation
Agroforestry Ecosystems for Communities and Nature
The central highlands of Guatemala are stricken with a woeful combination of challenges ranging from extreme poverty, high infant and maternal mortality, and chronic malnutrition, high rates of illiteracy and resulting excessive rates of deforestation for agricultural land conversion. Deforestation is attributed to agricultural incursions by small holder farmers into forests. According to Tara Cahill, agroforestry; agriculture incorporating the cultivation and conservation of trees, can help families live better and could be a socio-environmental solution for the region. But Linda wondered whether agroforestry can enhance the environmental health already degraded or deforested landscape and can it reduce agricultural incursions into existing forests.
Tara and the Community Cloud Forest Conservation will set about monitoring agroecosystems using Song Meter acoustic recorders to collect vocalizations and Kaleidoscope Pro software to analyze the data.
Song Meters will be deployed across agroforestry plots to sample bioacoustic activity. Duplicate parcels will be selected for high crop diversity and low crop diversity to enable comparisons of wildlife habitat use, measured in terms of vocalizations, between the two agricultural practices. The data will be collected year round with special attention given to identifiable avian and amphibian vocalizations.
Kaleidoscope Pro will be used to conduct a cluster analysis of vocalizations and those clusters will be turned into species classifiers with a special emphasis on avian and amphibian taxa. These data will analyzed to determine species presence and absence, species richness, and species vocalization frequencies. Comparisons between agroforestry and monoculture parcels will be conducted.
Research results will be used to guide agroforestry approaches in the region, allowing for science-based decision making and to build trust among land holders and agroforestry practitioners.
Birmingham and Black Country Bat Group
Urban Bat Project
The conservation status of urban bats is little-understood and there is a lack of research regarding the movements of bats in urban fringe or green belt landscapes.
Morgan and the Birmingham and Black Country (BBC) Bat Group has spent years observing and collecting data on where bats gather in these transition zones. Her team will be using the bat call data to get a better understanding of how bats are moving between sites. For instance, are they using railways, canals orhedgerows? Which species use which routes? How much of a barrier is caused by artificial lighting and urban development? Are some species more vulnerable to these factors than others?
Using a detailed distribution map of the West Midlands, UK, Birmingham and Black Country, Morgan and her team of Echo Meter Touch 2 PRO – equipped surveyors will spread out along key sites (e.g. footbridges crossing freight rail lines and canals) in the region to collect and analyze grid-referenced bat echolocation data. The data will be organized, analyzed and manually verified using Kaleidoscope Pro with bat auto-ID.
The project results will be submitted to landowners, licensors and sponsors to provide guidance on street lighting as well as provisioning for green corridors and dark routes for wildlife.
Tucson Audubon Society
Seasonal Study of Arizona Important Bird Areas
The Tucson Audubon Society has conducted extensive survey work on behalf of the Arizona Important Bird Areas program. There are 48 designated IBAs state-wide with the majority being in southeast Arizona, a well-known hotspot of bird diversity.
For years, the Arizona IBA program has relied on over 100 volunteers to conduct different types of surveys to gather bird data vital to the larger effort. This has worked well for both inventorying and monitoring tasks. As the program has grown in both scope and complexity of scientific inquiry, more questions have arisen about target species and refined timing that require data capture methodology that is either more advanced than our citizen science observational studies can provide, or requires more capacity in survey effort than is reasonable.
In 2017, Jennie and her team used a fleet of Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders and SM3BAT ultrasonic recorders, owned by the Coronado National Forest, to record bird vocalization and bat echolocation call data on a joint project; that's where they discovered the value of bioacoustics research.
This upcoming season, TAS will employ the use of Kaleidoscope Pro, it's Cluster Analysis and bat auto-ID features to organize and analyze the 2017 data captured by Song Meters. She and her team plan to examine species diversity and abundance of migratory birds, bird and bat diversity and presence, and wintering use by target bird species at specific IBA sites. Just as important, the results will show that Important Bird Areas are vital to not only birds but other species, such as bats.
The findings will be shared with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and bat conservation partner organizations for continued execution and refinement of land management programs and the expansion of community outreach efforts and citizen science work.
Georgia Southern University
Combatting "nature deafness" with singing insects
Georgia Southern University's Dr. Alan Harvey explains that field biology traditionally relies on visual identification skills, but auditory skills are also critical in observing wildlife and its habitats. These skills are not easily acquired; "plant blindness" may be a well-known phenomenon in budding biologists, but students actually have a much easier time learning to recognize plants than to identify even relatively distinctive calls or songs.
Dr. Harvey set out to create an ear training project for his students. Although early efforts focused on birds and anurans (frogs and toads), he suspects that singing insects (such as crickets, katydids, and cicadas) are better candidates for addressing "nature deafness." Diverse and abundant in south Georgia, their calls are distinctive and yet less complex than most bird songs. Also, insect calls occupy a higher register than most anurans calls, which are often difficult to distinguish from anthropogenic sounds in semi-urban settings.
Alan will deploy several Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders in a variety of insect habitat areas across multiple seasons on the Georgia Southern University Statesboro campus. The call data will be organized and analyzed using Kaleidoscope Pro software. The professor and his team will use the audio files to help students identify the insects by ear, as well as create a means to introduce students to the process of conducting scientific research. They will develop a comprehensive profile of the singing insects on campus, which can help inform a development plan that protects campus biodiversity.
2018, 1st Quarter
Dr. Kimberly Andrews
University of Georgia, Odum School of Ecology
Burrow Banter: Social Vocalizations in Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus Polyphemus)
Gopher tortoises are unusually talented socializers and the benefactors for a wide variety of wildlife within their ecosystem. Their burrows serve as refuge for over 360 commensal species. Unfortunately, the habitat in which they're a keystone species is under threat. In short, gopher tortoises are being forced out of their homes. While relocation of tortoises has proven to be effective, the shrinking quality of habitats and sprawling human development has led wildlife managers to turn to augmenting resident tortoise populations with relocated populations.
Researcher Kimberly Andrews and her team will monitor a group of twenty resident and twenty relocated tortoises for a one year period, starting in May.
The forty subjects are currently equipped with GPS data loggers and filmed at burrows using wildlife cameras as part of on-going research on this tortoise population. Since there is support that tortoises may use vocalizations for attracting mates, establishing social structures and influencing group dynamics, Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorders with cabled SMM-A2 microphones will be deployed at several burrows during the twelve month period. The Song Meter SM4 will capture both at burrow and inter-burrow vocalizations among the hybrid colony. Telemetry, video, and acoustic data will be combined to create a profile of the social foundation of these remarkable creatures.
Kimberly hopes to build upon prior research, expand the general knowledge of gopher tortoise vocalizations and confirm the use of the vocalizations before, during and after the mating season.
The recordings will be sorted and analyzed using Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro software with acoustic Cluster Analysis. Kimberly will cross-analyze vocal recordings and time-stamped videos from the cameras to understand the physical cues of vocalizations and the behavior and/or interactions related to them.
Dr. Emilia Grzędzicka
Foundation for Silesia Park
Acoustic activity and conservation of the endangered heath bush-cricket Gampsocleis glabra (Orthopetera, Tettigonioidea) on xerothermic habitats in southeastern Poland
Grasslands are the world's most endangered terrestrial ecosystem. Pressure from global processes, climate change, invasive species, land-use change and urbanization are diminishing this habitat at an alarming rate. Grasslands, especially xerothermic habitats, are hotspots for land species of insects. They are known for a rich diversity of rare and endemic species of insects. Despite this unique and important environment, there is very little research carried out in grasslands in general and almost none attributed to the Eurasian grasslands. The lack of knowledge may imperil the order of insects belonging to Orthoptera – grasshoppers, locusts and crickets - some of the most sensitive indicators of habitat quality.
Many insects in the family Tettigonioidea, and in particular the Heath bush-cricket (Gampsocleis glabra) is threatened with extinction over the whole of Europe. In Poland, its population is down to few hundred individuals living in parts of the southeast.
Dr. Emilia Grzędzicka and her colleagues will set about to determine the presence of heath bush-crickets in xerothermic habitats, estimate the population with other Tettigonioidea and establish conservation protocols.
Tettigonioidea exhibits the greatest diversity of song structures. Stridulation, the insects' act of producing sound by rubbing together certain body parts, is useful for species classification and checking species abundances.
With the deployment of the Song Meter SM4 acoustic recorder in distressed xerothermic habitats, Dr. Grzędzicka will record the variation in song frequency as explained by the stresses of environment and increasing competition of individuals and species. She will also examine whether differences in songs among Heath bush-crickets leads to better transmission of songs in areas of stress. Finally, the team will also study whether the songs are modified to mitigate masking caused by the noise of urban environments.
The data will be analyzed with Wildlife Acoustics' Kaleidoscope Pro software with acoustic Cluster Analysis. The results will be used in conservation plans for the locations studies, including but not limited to plans of mowing, grazing and detecting habitat threats. It is Dr. Grzędzicka's goal that the findings may result in international cooperation to protect both species and the grassland habitats throughout Eurasia.
2017, 4th Quarter
Kasey Cope and Slaney Stringer
El Dorado High School Natural Resources Program
East Campus Bird Population Study
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.
Rohit Chakravarty and Dr. Anand Krishnan
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Pune
Bats in the Himalayas: Establishing a paradigm for long-term acoustic monitoring in a montane ecosystem
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.
Dr. Diego Llusia
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Searching For The Ghost of The Moor and Habitat Corridors for its Conservation
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.
Devon Wildlife Trust
Devon Bat Survey
"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.
2017, 3nd Quarter
Dr. Michael Schöner
University of Costa Rica
Effectiveness of artificial roosts for Neotropical bat species
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.
Dr. Thilina Surasinghe and Maria Armour
Bridgewater State University Foundation
Use of biophonic signals to assess occupancy of anurans and bats in in southern Massachusetts outside state protected area network
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.
2017, 2nd Quarter
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
Third Millennium Alliance
Population monitoring of the long lost and thought extinct Tandayapa Andean Toad (Rhaebo olallai) in Northwest Equador.
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
Stephen F. Austin State University – Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Nacogdoches, TX
Texas Pollinator PowWow Bat Education.
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.
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.
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.
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
San Diego Zoo Global Institute
of Conservation Research
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
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
Testing the ability of Kaleidoscope Pro software to detect and cluster sounds embedded within anthropogenic noise.
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
Zoo New England
Franklin Park Zoo, Boston, MA
Franklin Park Zoo Biodiversity Project
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.
Hummingbird Monitoring Network
Detecting how weather, plant phenology and abundance of available nectar influence hummingbird migration
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
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Effects of White Nose Syndrome on bat activity, diet composition and insect abundance in Southern Wisconsin
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 and Dr. Jennifer Tennessen, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Understanding amphibian responses to noisy suburban habitats
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 , St. Edward's University, Wild Basin Creative Research Center, Austin, TX
Wild Basin Acoustic Biodiversity Project
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, Save Tootgarook Swamp, Inc., Victoria, Australia
Australasian Bittern Project
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, Queens College, City University of New York
Capturing song diversity in African weaverbirds
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, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Large Scale Urban Bat Ecology Study.
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, École Étoile filante/Spatial Temporal Earth Website, Montreal, Canada
Training 1st through 6th graders to become bioacousticians through the creation of My Soundscape stations.
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, IPBio-Biodiversity Research Institute, Atlantic Forest Research Center/ Betary Reserve, Sáo Paulo, Brazil
Constructing a globally accessible soundbank for Brazil's five ecosystems.
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, the Zoological Society of London
Detecting the world's rarest ape: improving monitoring efforts for the Hainan gibbon.
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, Teton Raptor Center
Understanding forest raptor dynamics in the southern Yellowstone Ecosystem.
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, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
Koala Population Density Study
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, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge
Florida Bonneted Bat Research
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.