Efforts across the globe are being made to record wild (and not so wild) habitats. These recordings offer insight to the geophony (e.g., wind & rain), biophony (e.g., wildlife calls), and androphony (human sounds) of an area and how they affect one another.
Biophony may be recorded to demonstrate the density and diversity of animals in an area. The habits and communications of animals can be studied from any number of angles. Hours of recordings can be studied through the use of time-saving software.
Spectrographs and Analysis
A spectrograph allows one to view sounds 10-20 times faster than actually listening to them.
Calls or sounds can be automatically detected with software (such as RavenPro from the Macaulay Lab of Orinthology at Cornell). These calls can be further studied and saved.
The energy and frequency of sounds can also be correlated to aid researchers in locating sounds of interest. These recordings offer a baseline to be compared in the years to come.
More detail: Soundscapes and the Mississippi-Madawaska Land Trust
The Mississippi-Madawaska Land Trust [MMLT] protects properties (of significant biological interest) for generations to come. Numerous events occur on many of these sites that offer a variety of learning experiences including soundscape stations where participants can listen to the sounds of nature through various microphone arrangements including underwater mics, parabolic dishes, ambient sampling, and bat calls. Furthermore, public talks have been given on soundscaping and how they are being used by MMLT. This has led to a group of volunteers meeting and learning how to use the equipment and software.
As one aid to the on-going monitoring of MMLT’s protected places, the use of soundscape recordings are being used. Their efforts to buy/use equipment for this is a first for Land Trusts. Remote and automated recorders are strategically placed to record at intervals during the spring (about 40 minutes/day for 40 days). With ongoing recording over the years, a considerable archive of sounds are produced that can be reviewed on an on-going basis or as part of a longer term study. Currently, the recordings are focussed on capturing morning bird calls and evening frog choruses for density and diversity. Special software is used to review the recordings (i.e., RavenPro from the Macaulay Lab of Ornithology at Cornell).
Spectrograph analysis allows one to view sounds 20 times faster than actually listening to them. The energy and frequency of sounds can also be correlated to aid researchers with sounds of interest. These recordings offer a baseline to be compared in the years to come. Calls or sounds can be automatically detected with the software—although this part of the the software is still in its infancy in terms of development. The animal calls can be further studied and saved into folders including saving various tables and software recall of previous workstation set-ups.
I have researched what is being used used in terms of equipment and the types of studies being performed with soundscapes. I also have worked on do-it-yourself microphone making and recording set-ups to save money and attain high quality recordings both for research and aesthetic recordings. To further ensure I was on the right track, I participated in Cornell’s Nature Recordist program at a field station in Nevada.
Contribute to Ongoing Research
Join, volunteer, or donate to your local land Trust (Ottawa Valley: MMLT)
Research links to bio-accoustic publications from WildlifeAcoustics.
Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology: some research related to accoustic monitoring.