Ecosystem, Biodiversity, or Soundscape Monitoring

Using sound to see the big picture when surveying a habitat

Soundscapes are composed of all sounds at a place originating from biological, geophysical, and anthropological sources. They help us understand biodiversity patterns across space and time, assess human activities, and monitor climate dynamics.

Studying Habitat Soundscapes and the Challenges of Manual Data Collection

Resource Constraints

It isn’t feasible for human researchers to continuously monitor an environment day after day for years, especially in habitats that are difficult or dangerous to access. Additionally, it’s difficult to mitigate the costs and risks of manual data collection without limiting the quantity and range of data gathered.

Observer Bias

Manual data collection relies heavily on the skill and experience level of the observer. In other words, data is limited by what an individual can observe – lacking true objectivity and increasing risk for errors in data.

Limited Data

Individual species may be difficult to detect, and certain habitats may be challenging to access with interactive research techniques, limiting the quantity and range of data observations.

Additional Resources

How Bioacoustics Tools Solve These Challenges

Big Picture Acoustic Monitoring

Acoustic monitoring is an efficient, cost-effective way to sample large swaths of land with numerous and diverse habitats – providing permanent records of animal vocalizations. Recorders allow you to monitor entire soundscapes at once over extended periods of time, overcoming the human limitations of manual data collection.

Data Insights

Because they can be reviewed many times by experts, soundscape recordings are a reliable way to assess the condition of landscapes and seascapes – even more so than field surveys, which have inherent bias. Recordings captured during all times of day allow us to rethink how we measure the biodiversity of a place through time. And since many sound sources exist in nature, soundscapes have become universal measures of change – expanding our horizons to ask new scientific questions.

Rapid Soundscape Assessment

For studies concerning habitat conservation or the relationship between natural and anthropogenic sounds, using an unattended recorder enables you to monitor entire ecosystems over time and space. One means by which this is accomplished is through the application of acoustic indices, which quantify the diversity and patterns of sounds in audio recordings.

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