Journal of Ecoacoustics

(ISSN: 2516-1466) Open Access Journal
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JEA, Volume 1, Issue 1 (1 2017)
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1 Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan 00931-3360, Puerto Rico
2 Sieve Analytics Inc., San Juan 00911, Puerto Rico
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA 2017, 1(1), 4; doi: 10.22261/JEA.PNCO7I
Received: 5 Sep 2017 / Accepted: 6 Nov 2017 / Published: 6 Dec 2017
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Elevational gradients influence the distribution and composition of animal species and can provide useful information for the development of conservation strategies in the context of climate change. Despite an increase in studies of species diversity along elevational gradients, there is still a lack of information about community responses to environmental gradients, in part because of the logistical limitations of sampling multiple taxa simultaneously. One solution is to use passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) to acquire and analyze information from different animal taxa simultaneously along an entire elevational gradient. To improve our understanding of how environmental gradients influence patterns of animal communities and to test the relationship between soundscapes and animal composition we investigated how variation in bird and anuran composition affect the acoustic structure and composition of the soundscapes along an elevation gradient. We used PAM deploying portable acoustic recorders along three elevational transects in the Luquillo Mountains (LM), Puerto Rico. We found that elevation plays a major role in structuring the acoustic community and that the soundscape composition reflected the same patterns of anuran and bird distribution and composition along the elevational gradient. This study shows how different animal taxa respond to environmental gradients and provide strong evidence for the use of soundscapes as a tool to describe and compare species distribution and composition across large spatial scales. Full article
1 Purdue University Department of Biological Sciences, Lilly Hall of Life Science, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA
2 George Mason University Biology Department, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA 2017, 1(1), 5; doi: 10.22261/jea.z9tqhu
Received: 11 Aug 2017 / Accepted: 31 Oct 2017 / Published: 5 Dec 2017
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Background noise can interfere with and influence acoustic communication behavior. Signal interference is dependent on the amplitude and spectral characteristic of background noise, which varies over space and time. The likelihood of signal interference is greater when background noise is concentrated within the same frequency bands of an animal’s vocalization, but even a partial masking effect can elicit signaling behavior modification. Relative to a rural landscape, background noise in an urban landscape is disproportionately comprised by anthro- pogenic sound, which fluctuates in amplitude throughout the day and occurs primarily in low frequencies (0–2 kHz). In this study, we examined if urban-rural differences in vocal activity patterns exist in a species Zonotrichia leucophrys nuttalli that communicates above the frequency range of anthropogenic noise (2–8 kHz). We tested whether vocal activity patterns changed in relation to sound in the high or low frequency bands within and between urban and rural locations. Automated acoustic recording devices (ARDs) continuously recorded throughout the morning song chorus, 0500 to 1,100 h, during the 2014 breeding season in San Francisco (urban) and Marin (rural) Counties, CA. Supervised learning cluster analysis was used to quantify vocal activity by totaling the number of songs. In general, vocal activity was greater in urban locations com- pared to rural locations. However, within rural and urban study sites, we found vocal activity decreased where low frequency noise levels were higher. There was not a relationship between vocal activity and high frequency, biotic sound. In both urban and rural locations, low frequency noise levels increased through the morning, while vocal activity remained relatively consistent. Our results demonstrate how patterns of vocal activity can change with low frequency, abiotic noise, even when there is no direct spectral overlap with the acoustic signal. Full article
1 Ethology Section, Sciences College, University of the Republic of Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA 2017, 1(1), 6; doi: 10.22261/JEA.R7YFP0
Received: 30 Aug 2017 / Accepted: 6 Nov 2017 / Published: 5 Dec 2017
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Ctenomys are mainly solitary subterranean rodents. Life underground has advantages (protection against predators, environmental control and reduced competition) but also implies disadvantages (digging costs, coping with hypercapnia, physiological and sensory changes, and communication problems) that can affect the social structure. Reproduction is a critical moment in the use of the signal repertoire, because individuals should locate in space, travel to, contact and copulate with a suitable partner. Energy expenditure involved in digging (connecting) tunnels makes difficult to attain a partner burrow system, but predation risk involved in moving above ground can counterbalance it and coupled with the spatial structure of the population, can determine the best communicative strategy to contact and locate a potential partner. Vocalisations allow to communicate over longer distances an with a reduced risk, while chemical signals, mostly aimed at vomerolfaction involve proximity or direct contact with the sample odour thus making information gathering more risky. As Ctenomys can use different signal types to gather different types of information leading to copulation, we propose that the use of these signals would be flexible, depending mostly on population spatial structure and type of predators living in the zone. This is because differences among species and/or populations in the use and characteristics of long-range vocalisations could be induced by environmental and/or social factors. This variation could be considered as a case of phenotypic plasticity, determining communication strategies variability in reproductive context, mostly dependent on long-range communication signals and the behaviour of males. Full article
1 Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, Urbino University, 61029 Urbino, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA 2017, 1(1), 1; doi: 10.22261/jea.5q5v3r
Received: 24 Jul 2017 / Accepted: 24 Jul 2017 / Published: 27 Oct 2017
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The launch of a journal is always an opportunity to advance scientific knowledge, because a journal consolidates ideas and facts in a field. With this in mind, Journal of Ecoacoustics (JEA) aims to open a new season of theoretical, empirical and applied studies in Ecoacoustics, a recent ecological discipline that represents the development of bioacoustics studies into the ecological realm. Full article
1 Faculty of Science, University Brunei Darussalam, Tungku Link, Gadong BE1410, Brunei Darussalam
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA 2017, 1(1), 2; doi: 10.22261/jea.x74qe0
Received: 6 Jul 2017 / Accepted: 1 Sep 2017 / Published: 26 Oct 2017
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High background noise can interfere with signal detection and perception. Bornean foot-flagging frogs,Staurois parvus, live along noisy streams and use both acoustic and visual signals to communicate. It remains unclear why acoustic signalling is retained given that visual signalling appears to have clear advantages under these noisy conditions. We hypothesized that temporal dynamics in stream noise have shaped the multimodal communication system inS. parvuswith acoustic signalling at an advantage under more quiet conditions, whereas visual signals will prevail when the noise of rushing water is high after rains. We found that as predicted, maleS. parvusincreased foot flagging and decreased advertisement calling when presented with playbacks of stream noise compared to less noisy pre-playback conditions. Such context-dependent dynamic-selection regimes are recently gaining wider attention and enhance our understanding of the flexibility seen in the use of multimodal signals inS. parvus. Full article
1 Calvin College, 3201 Burton St SE, 49546 Grand Rapids, United States
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA 2017, 1(1), 3; doi: 10.22261/jea.tlp6d
Received: 21 Jul 2017 / Accepted: 17 Sep 2017 / Published: 26 Oct 2017
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Mounting evidence suggests that anthropogenic noise neg-atively impacts many wildlife species, including songbirds. One mechanism by which noise affects songbirds may be through acoustic obstruction to their systems of vocal communication. However, many species increase the amplitude or pitch of their vocalizations, which may partially mitigate the impact of high noise levels. When the amplitude of anthropogenic noise varies over time, such as near a moderate-use highway, short gaps between noise events may also provide an important oppor- tunity for communication. But, whether songbirds adjust vocalization rates rapidly to avoid overlap with noise is unknown for most species. We used acoustic playback to expose song- birds to simulated road noise during the dawn chorus in oth- erwise quiet habitats. We measured vocalization rates under ambient conditions and during quiet gaps embedded within playback of road noise to assess whether a community of songbirds, and nineteen individual species, vocalize more reg- ularly during noise gaps. There were no significant differences in community-wide acoustic output. Species-specific analysis revealed that only four species altered their vocal rates during quiet gaps in noise, but that the direction of the effect varied by species. Point count results revealed that birds generally remained on site for the duration of the experiment, suggesting that abandonment of noisy locations was unlikely to confound our results. In sum, increasing vocal output during short gaps in noise occurred in only a handful of species, perhaps con- tributing to the limited number of species that are found within noisy habitats. Full article