Journal of Ecoacoustics

(ISSN: 2516-1466) Open Access Journal
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JEA, Volume 2, Issue 1 (1 2018)
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JEA 2018, 2(1), 8; doi: 10.22261/jea.gwpzvd
Received: 29 Sep 2017 / Accepted: 2017-03-11 / Published: 2018-05-09
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Passive acoustic monitoring is a potentially valuable tool in biodiversity hotspots, where surveying can occur at large scales across land conversion types. However, in order to extract meaningful biological information from resulting enormous acoustic datasets, rapid analytical techniques are required. Here we tested
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Passive acoustic monitoring is a potentially valuable tool in biodiversity hotspots, where surveying can occur at large scales across land conversion types. However, in order to extract meaningful biological information from resulting enormous acoustic datasets, rapid analytical techniques are required. Here we tested the ability of a suite of acoustic indices to predict avian bioacoustic activity in recordings collected from the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot in southwestern India. Recordings were collected at 28 sites in a range of land-use types, from tea, coffee, and cardamom plantations to remnant forest stands. Using 36 acoustic indices we developed random forest models to predict the richness, diversity, and total number of avian vocalizations observed in recordings. We found limited evidence that acoustic indices predict the richness and total number of avian species vocalizations in recordings (R2 < 0.51). However, acoustic indices predicted the diversity of avian species vocalizations with high accuracy (R2 = 0.64, mean squared error = 0.17). Index models predicted low and high diversity best, with the highest residuals for medium diversity values and when continuous biological sounds were present (e.g., insect sounds >8 sec). The acoustic complexity index and roughness index were the most important for predicting avian vocal diversity. Avian species richness was generally higher among shade-grown crops than in the open tea plantation. Our results suggest that models incorporating acoustic indices can accurately predict low and high avian species diversity from acoustic recordings. Thus, ecoacoustics could be an important contributor to biodiversity monitoring across landscapes like the Western Ghats, which are a complex mosaic of different land-use types and face continued changes in the future. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 5; doi: 10.22261/jea.tnw2np
Received: 29 Sep 2017 / Accepted: 2017-02-26 / Published: 2018-04-26
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Standardized methods for biodiversity monitoring are needed to evaluate conservation efforts. Acoustic indices are used in biodiversity assessments, but need to be compared to traditional wildlife methods. This work was conducted in the Santa Rosa National Park between June and November, 2015. We
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Standardized methods for biodiversity monitoring are needed to evaluate conservation efforts. Acoustic indices are used in biodiversity assessments, but need to be compared to traditional wildlife methods. This work was conducted in the Santa Rosa National Park between June and November, 2015. We installed recorders and conducted bird point counts in twelve sampling sites. We compared acoustic indices (Acoustic Evenness Index [AEI], Acoustic Diversity Index [ADI], Acoustic Complexity Index [ACI], Bioacoustic Index [BIO], Normalized Difference Soundscape Index [NDSI], Total Entropy [TE], Median Amplitude Envelope [MAE], Number of peaks [NP]) with indices from bird point counts (Bird Abundance, Bird Richness, Bird Diversity and Bird Evenness), and discuss the utility of acoustic indices as indicators for biodiversity monitoring in tropical forests. ADI, ACI, BIO and TE presented a similar temporal pattern peaking between 5 am and 6 am; and an additional peak at 5 pm, except for ACI. These patterns were consistent with the daily biological rhythms. AEI, ACI, BIO and Bird Abundance were related to characteristics of younger forests (lower percentage of canopy cover) but NP, ADI, TE, Bird Diversity and Bird Evenness were related to characteristics of older forests (higher percentage of canopy cover and a lower number of patches). ACI was positively correlated to Bird Abundance and NP was positively correlated to Bird Diversity. ACI reflects biological activity, but not necessarily a more diverse bird community in this study area. This might be an indication of a strong acoustic competition, or several highly dominant bird species in younger forests. Furthermore, acoustic communities in tropical forests commonly include insects (cicadas) and frogs, which might affect resulting acoustic indices. A variety of methods are probably needed to thoroughly assess biodiversity. However, a combination of indices such as ACI and NP might be considered to monitor trends in abundance and diversity of birds in dry forests. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 6; doi: 10.22261/JEA.IUSWUI
Received: 1 Feb 2018 / Accepted: 2018-03-11 / Published: 2018-04-26
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Long-duration recordings of the natural environment have many advantages in passive monitoring of animal diversity. Technological advances now enable the collection of far more audio than can be listened to, necessitating the development of scalable approaches for distinguishing signal from noise. Computational methods,
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Long-duration recordings of the natural environment have many advantages in passive monitoring of animal diversity. Technological advances now enable the collection of far more audio than can be listened to, necessitating the development of scalable approaches for distinguishing signal from noise. Computational methods, using automated species recognisers, have improved in accuracy but require considerable coding expertise. The content of environmental recordings is unconstrained, and the creation of labelled datasets required for machine learning purposes is a time-consuming, expensive enterprise. Here, we describe a visual approach to the analysis of environmental recordings using long-duration false-colour (LDFC) spectrograms, prepared from combinations of spectral indices. The technique was originally developed to visualize 24-hour “soundscapes.” A soundscape is an ecoacoustics concept that encompasses the totality of sound in an ecosystem. We describe three case studies to demonstrate how LDFC spectrograms can be used, not only to study soundscapes, but also to monitor individual species within them. In the first case, LDFC spectrograms help to solve a “needle in the haystack” problem—to locate vocalisations of the furtive Lewin’s Rail (Tasmanian), Lewinia pectoralis brachipus. We extend the technique by using a machine learning method to scan multiple days of LDFC spectrograms. In the second case study, we demonstrate that frog choruses are easily identified in LDFC spectrograms because of their extended time-scale. Although calls of individual frogs are lost in the cacophony of sound, spectral indices can distinguish different chorus characteristics. Third, we demonstrate that the method can be extended to the detection of bat echolocation calls. By converting complex acoustic data into readily interpretable images, our practical approach bridges the gap between bioacoustics and ecoacoustics, encompassing temporal scales across three orders of magnitude. Using the one methodology, it is possible to monitor entire soundscapes and individual species within those soundscapes. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 7; doi: 10.22261/jea.qvdzo7
Received: 30 Sep 2017 / Accepted: 2018-03-01 / Published: 2018-04-11
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Autonomous recording is commonly used to examine the structure of avian communities in a variety of landscapes. Many birds return to the breeding grounds in May yet acoustic surveys typically begin in June. In many species, singing activity declines through the breeding season
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Autonomous recording is commonly used to examine the structure of avian communities in a variety of landscapes. Many birds return to the breeding grounds in May yet acoustic surveys typically begin in June. In many species, singing activity declines through the breeding season and so detections may be lower later in the season. The aim of our study was to compare the species richness and the community composition measured early (mid-late May) and later (mid-late June) in the breeding season. We recorded the community of singing birds at 13 locations in York Region, Ontario, Canada woodlots over two days using autonomous recorders. We used spectrographic analysis to scan recordings and identify all vocalizing species. We found that species richness was significantly higher in early recordings compared to later recordings with detections of both migrants and residents displaying this trend. Most food and foraging guilds were also detected significantly less often later in the season. Despite changes in species richness, the proportion of the community represented by each foraging guild did not vary between early and late recordings. Our results suggest that acoustic recordings could be collected earlier in the breeding season, extending the survey period into May. If the primary goal of monitoring is to document species presence/absence then earlier recordings may be advantageous. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 4; doi: 10.22261/JEA.5GSNT8
Received: 1 Nov 2017 / Accepted: 2018-02-09 / Published: 2018-03-29
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Both marine mammals and hydroacoustic instruments employ underwater sound to communicate, navigate or infer information about the marine environment. Concurrent timing of acoustic activities using similar frequency regimes may result in (potentially mutual) interference of acoustic signals when both sources are within audible
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Both marine mammals and hydroacoustic instruments employ underwater sound to communicate, navigate or infer information about the marine environment. Concurrent timing of acoustic activities using similar frequency regimes may result in (potentially mutual) interference of acoustic signals when both sources are within audible range of the recipient. While marine mammal fitness might be negatively impacted upon, both on individual and population level, hydroacoustic studies may generate low quality data or suffer data loss as a result of bioacoustic interference. This article pursues, in analogy to landscape planning, the concept of marine soundscape planning to reconcile potentially competing uses of acoustic space by managing the anthropogenic sound sources. We here present a conceptual framework exploring the potential of soundscape planning in reducing (mutual) acoustic interference between hydroacoustic instrumentation and marine mammals. The basis of this framework is formed by the various mechanisms by which acoustic niche formation (i.e., the partitioning of the acoustic space) occurs in species-rich communities that acoustically coexist while maintaining high fidelity (hi-fi) soundscapes, i.e., by acoustically partitioning the environment on the basis of time, space, frequency and signal structure. Hydroacoustic measurements often exhibit certain flexibility in their timing, and even instrument positioning, potentially offering the opportunity to minimize the ecological imprint of their operation. This study explores how the principle of acoustic niches could contribute to reduce potential (mutual) acoustic interference based on actual acoustic data from three recording locations in polar oceans. By employing marine soundscape planning strategies, entailing shifting the timing or position of hydroacoustic experiments, or adapting signal structure or frequency, we exemplify the potential efficacy of smart planning for four different hydroacoustic instrumentation types: multibeam echosounders, air guns, RAFOS (Ranging and Fixing of Sound) and tomographic sound sources. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 2; doi: 10.22261/jea.pvh6yz
Received: 5 Oct 2017 / Accepted: 2018-01-03 / Published: 2018-02-27
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The application of acoustic indices is incipient and still needs validation before it can reliably characterize soundscapes and monitor rapidly disappearing hot-spot areas as the Brazilian tropical savanna (Cerrado). Here we investigate which of six acoustic indices better correlate with the 24 h
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The application of acoustic indices is incipient and still needs validation before it can reliably characterize soundscapes and monitor rapidly disappearing hot-spot areas as the Brazilian tropical savanna (Cerrado). Here we investigate which of six acoustic indices better correlate with the 24 h zoophony richness of insects, anurans, birds, and mammals. We sampled one minute every 30 minutes for seven days on three sites in Serra da Canastra National Park (Minas Gerais state, Brazil) and extracted the sonotype richness and six indices based on recordings with a bandwidth of up to 48 kHz. The Acoustic Diversity, Evenness, Entropy, and Normalized Difference Soundscape indices followed the temporal trends of the sonotype richness of insects and anurans. The Acoustic Complexity (ACI) and Bioacoustic (BIO) indices did not correlated with sonotype richness. ACI and BIO were influenced by sonic abundance and geophony. We emphasize the need to include insects and anurans on soundscape and acoustic ecology analyses and to avoid bias on avian fauna alone. We also suggest that future studies explore measures of sonic abundance and acoustic niche occupation of sonotypes to complement measures of zoophony richness and better understand what each faunal group is telling us about indices. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 3; doi: 10.22261/JEA.STBDH1
Received: 10 Oct 2017 / Accepted: 2018-01-03 / Published: 2018-02-06
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The ambient acoustic environment, or soundscape, is of broad interest in the study of marine ecosystems as both a source of rich sensory information to marine organisms and, more broadly, as a driver of the structure and function of marine communities. Increasing our
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The ambient acoustic environment, or soundscape, is of broad interest in the study of marine ecosystems as both a source of rich sensory information to marine organisms and, more broadly, as a driver of the structure and function of marine communities. Increasing our understanding of how soundscapes affect and reflect ecological processes first requires appropriate characterization of the acoustic stimuli, and their patterns in space and time. Here, we present a novel method developed for measuring soundscape variation, using drifting acoustic recorders to quantify acoustic dynamics related to benthic habitat composition. Selected examples of drifter results from sub-tidal oyster-reef habitats in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, USA, and from coral reef habitats in St. John, US Virgin Islands, highlight the efficacy and utility of this approach in quantifying soundscape variation in diverse habitats. The platform introduces minimal noise into the acoustic recordings, and allows sampling at spatial scales that might typically be overlooked using stationary hydrophone methods. We demonstrate that mobile hydrophone recording methods offer new insight into soundscape variation and provide a complementary approach to conventional passive acoustic monitoring techniques. Full article
JEA 2018, 2(1), 1; doi: 10.22261/jea.ylfj6q
Received: 3 Jul 2017 / Accepted: 2017-11-08 / Published: 2018-01-10
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In line with the development of socio-ecological perspectives in conservation science, there is increasing interest in the role of soundscape perception in understanding human-environment interactions; the impact of natural soundscapes on human wellbeing is also increasingly recognized. However, research to date has focused
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In line with the development of socio-ecological perspectives in conservation science, there is increasing interest in the role of soundscape perception in understanding human-environment interactions; the impact of natural soundscapes on human wellbeing is also increasingly recognized. However, research to date has focused on preferences and attitudes to western, urban locations. This study investigated individual emotional associations with local soundscape for three social groups living in areas with distinct degrees of urbanization, from pristine forest and pre-urban landscapes in Ecuador, to urban environments in UK and USA. Participants described sounds that they associated with a range of emotions, both positive and negative, which were categorized according to an adapted version of Schafer’s sound classification scheme. Analyses included a description of the sound types occurring in each environment, an evaluation of the associations between sound types and emotions across social groups, and the elaboration of a soundscape perception map. Statistical analyses revealed that the distribution of sound types differed between groups, reflecting essential traits of each soundscape, and tracing the gradient of urbanization. However, some associations were universal: Natural Sounds were primarily associated with positive emotions, whereas Mechanical and Industrial Sounds were linked to negative emotions. Within non-urban environments, natural sounds were associated with a much wider range of emotions. Our analyses suggest that Natural Sounds could be considered as valuable natural resources that promotes human wellbeing. Special attention is required within these endangered forest locations, which should be classified as a “threatened soundscapes,” as well as “threatened ecosystems,” as we begin to understand the role of soundscape for the wellbeing of the local communities. The methodology presented in this article offers a fast, cheap tool for identifying reactions towards landscape modification and identifying sounds of social relevance. The potential contribution of soundscape perception within the current conservation approaches is discussed. Full article