discussion / Acoustics  / 30 November 2022

Potential collaboration: integrating acoustics and NASA airborne remote sensing to monitor animal and habitat biodiversity

Hi everyone. I’m looking for an ecologist/ornithologist with experience in bioacoustics to collaborate on a project integrating on-the-ground acoustics with synchronous NASA airborne measurements (spectroscopy and LiDAR). We developed a proof-of-concept showing significant relationships between acoustic diversity and habitat (structural and spectral) diversity. We are looking for ecologists to interpret our acoustic diversity results across habitat types and further discuss additional analyses and methods that might help to monitor biodiversity (habitats and wildlife) from ground, air and/or space. 

The focus is on Mediterranean ecosystems, particularly in California and the Cape Floristic Region (South Africa). We are interested in studying acoustic diversity across space, such as environmental and fire history gradients. There is also potential for temporal analysis. For example, we developed an acoustic network to collect data during springtime (March-July) in a Californian Natural Preserve. The acoustic campaign pairs with weekly NASA airborne spectral measurements that provide unprecedented spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions to measure habitat composition, phenology and plant trait variation over time. It is a unique dataset for studying how sounds and colors change during the growing season and whether they are tied. 

We are primarily looking for faculty professors from the following universities (see below) due to the limitations of an upcoming NASA-JPL funding opportunity. Still, any discussion, insights or ideas for future collaborations are welcome; our research work goes beyond the referred funding opportunity.  


Arizona State University
Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Stanford University
Texas A&M University
The University of Texas at Austin
University of Arizona
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Michigan
University of Southern California

Although not a professor, I know a fair number through long-term association with scgis.org, and personally am using Audiomoths in collaboration with the UC System at the Blue Oak Reserve. 

I've developed a fair bit of scripts to automatically crunch things using 'Birdnet', as per: 

I can certainly facilitate dialogue with the Cornell Ornithology lab if you do not have those connections already.  

My own background is in remote sensing (SAR, etc) and currently working in machine learning (albeit for health care currently..) this project sounds fascinating!

Are you already working with Audubon, and/or people in the UC System?

Dear Antonio,

It is a long-shot, but this may be relevant to what you are looking for? I have collected across 4 seasons (2022) 8-10 days/season acoustic data from 11 stations located at pine forests of different post-fire regeneration stage (>20 years since last burn, burnt in 2001, 2009, 2018) in Greece. These are typical Mediterranean forest pine landscapes - but certainly not in California or South Africa. We did not have plans at present to continue collecting data - since we got all seasons of one year, but may be the existing data or future data from these or similar areas here in Greece would be relevant to what you wish to accomplish with the airborne measurements?

Feel free to drop me a line.

All the best,