Acoustic Monitoring / Feed

Bioacoustic monitoring is one of our biggest and most active groups, with members collecting and analysing acoustic data from every type of wildlife, from birds and bats to big cats, and even reptiles!


ISO Speakers for Emerging Technologies class.

Hi Everyone, Apologies for posting across multiple groups.  I'm teaching a new course @ Clark University next semester on emerging technologies for conservation. The course...

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Definitely interested! I'm in the ecoacoustics/acoustic monitoring space, working at Rainforest Connection and Arbimon.

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Frontier Labs BAR-LT Localization Firmware

I am using the Frontier Labs BAR-LT recorders for acoustic localization for the first time. I noticed that the Frontier Labs guide to acoustic localization mentions the need to...

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Hi @tessa_rhinehart 

Apologies, only just saw this message. Did you end up getting the firmware. I know the Frontier Lab guys and can possibly reach out to them if you are still having trouble. Let me know. 



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Song Meter Micro experience?

Hi everyone, First off, what a great community this is! I only recently found out about it, and it seems like a game changer, especially for early career folk like me.I was...

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Hi Ollie, 

Not long back from the field, have a lot of catching up to do! Thanks a lot for this reply. 

If I'd fully appreciated the significance of that strange spike at 6Khz beforehand, it may have changed my mind about project design (larger deployment of Micro vs smaller of Mini). It's a bit of a nightmare, and basically makes it impossible to do/trust soundscape analysis... Luckily my main aim for this season was species-targeted, so the main issue I'm having is annotating training data without passing out when the cicadas kick in. I had hoped to combine this with soundscape stuff, but that's going to be a no-go with these recorders. I'll summarise my experience down below. I'm ashamed(?) to say I'm not really on twitter, but I'll get in touch.

Also, I had indeed seen your excellent guidelines handbook (after my initial query on this thread) and was singing its praises to Tom. It's a fantastic resource which I'll be referring back to for a while!



Hi all, 

Thanks again to everyone who commented on this. I've been back from the field for a week or so, just catching up on things. Here are my thoughts on the Micro for anyone considering them.


- Durability/waterproofing. One literally ended up underwater for 2 days after a rapid flood event, and it was still working. No fish or dolphin recordings, sadly, but it worked for the rest of the season - good to know! No humidity issues either, I used two of the small desiccant packets per recorder, and changed them each time I changed the batteries. I haven't used the SM Mini, but I would imagine that having the foam mic windscreen might actually be a disadvantage in wet environments, as it surely gets saturated easily and dries slowly, potentially changing the mic's sensitivity. No foam or external components = fewer 

- Usability. This isn't specific to the Micro, but the app is great. For anyone who hasn't used Wildlife Acoustics before, it's a definite plus. Love the flexibility to have multiple schedules per day (e.g. full dawn chorus combined with 1-in-10 for the rest of the day). Being able to do everything, including change schedule, from a phone vs a laptop is a big plus. Admittedly I haven't checked the latest version of the AudioMoth configuration app, but last time I used it, it did not have the functionality of the SM app.

- Availability! This might be a dumb one, but good luck trying to get an AudioMoth... Even the SM Mini is currently on backorder, as are several of the other main options.

- Sound quailty. For some applications, it's perfectly fine, comparable to AudioMoth, but see main 'con' below.


- Uneven frequency response. This is a big one. As @Oliver_Metcalf pointed out, there is a strange peak in the f response at around 6kHz. It's on their website, but I had not quite appreciated how significant it is. It's a big deal IF you plan on doing soundscape analysis (e.g. acoustic indices), because it biases recordings towards the insect chorus. A lot of my recordings ended up with clipping distortion as a result of insects (cicadas, katydids) and even some frogs (sp.) This is less of an issue if you're listening for particular species, especially if it vocalises <6kHz, like most birds and frogs.

- Battery life (a). Admittedly, I should have done some more thorough testing with this one, like @jkitzes' lab. Based on a quick test and estimates, I thought the SM Micro should get ~100 hours of recording using Eneloop Pro batteries. What I actually got was around 80 hours on average, which is pretty bad, and meant that a lot more of my time was spent going to change batteries than originally planned. It was in lowland rainforest, so low temperature was not an issue. Sample rate was 32kHz. Potentially there was an issue with my battery charger, but I tested batteries and they seemed at full capacity. I don't know whether there is some incompatibility issue going on...

- Battery life (b). I also used Energizer Lithium batteries (the best ones) on a couple of deployments. Strangely, this did not dramatically improve things! I got 90-100 hours. However, when I changed the schedule for one of the recorders from '1 min on, 2 off, 24/7' to '1 min on, 0 off, 5am-6pm', that recorder lasted for 250hrs! I don't know if this was just a fluke, or if something about power cycling differences between schedule types has a big effect. It shouldn't, but that schedule got by far the longest battery life. 


- Great for short-term deployments targeted at particular species (e.g. SDM ground-truthing, preliminary conservation monitoring)

- Probably better suited to temperate sites with less insect noise

- Test out different schedules to see if this really does affect battery life

- NOT good for soundscape analysis/acoustic indices 

Let me know if you have any questions/comments! Hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about these recorders.

Hi Lucy, 

Sorry! I was in the field by the time you replied, and have not been back long. I realise it's been months now, but are you still planning on using the SM Micros? If so, please have a look at my thoughts in the new comment on this thread. I would think in Norway, the stridulating insect issue would not be as bad as in the tropics. Depends on what you want to use them for. Battery life is still definitely an issue though, and even more so in low temperatures. Good luck, let me know how you get on, or if you went with a different recorder.



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New Paper: Identification of fish sounds

Xavier Mouy recently shared this new bioacoustics paper on Twitter. This research focuses on identifying fish sounds in relation to specific species through the use of three underwater portable audio-video platforms. The proposed array designs successfully identified fish sounds, and this paper covers instructions for others working in marine bioacoustics who would like to apply these ideas to their own work.


EarthRanger User Conference

Back for its 8th year, don't miss this year's premier global annual event where conservation practitioners from around the world convene to discuss important challenges and solutions

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Congo Basin activity?

greetings - I am helping coordinate a visit by the incoming director of national parks for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in mid-late June. He is very interested to...

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i sent you a PM regarding this, feel free to contact me however is most convenient for you -




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Accessible acoustic analysis tech for blind scientist - ideas?

Hi all - I'm mentoring a student who is blind on a bioacoustics project to classify killer whale calls. Anyone out there have any experience with or ideas about making...

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Hey Kate I don't have any explicit ideas at the moment but will think on it - such a cool concept! I wonder if there's some form of tactile spectrogram that you could develop, or a way that you could have them try to draw a representation (so assign some shape) of what they are hearing as a means of classification a call and then clustering those shapes? There's a way of creating an image using foam and paper I believe so they could have a tactile record of those shapes. Guess it depends what you want to the quantitative results to be. Super cool that you are looking for greater accessibility in acoustics!!!

Hi Kate, 

We've developed a screen-reader workflow for a classification problem on our "Ocean Voices" Zooniverse project, which simply asks folks to label sounds based on what they hear and omits the spectrogram altogether. There are lots of screen-reader users who are active in the Zooniverse Talk forums, so they may have valuable input for you as well. 

Once a person has labeled data, I wonder if they could run automated detectors over the data in Pamguard, calculate features (using something like the R package PAMpal), and then use the BrailleR package to explore the statistics in R. This article has a pretty interesting summary about statistical software for visually impaired folks - might not be news to your student, but I thought it was pretty cool. 

I'm very curious what our friends who are visually impaired might notice in the acoustic data. Best of luck to you and your student! 




Hi Kate- ARISTA Lab (Advanced Research in Inclusion & STEAM Accessibility) is actively working on this through their eclispse soundscape project. I recommend reaching out to MaryKay to get the latest on their project.  




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Who's going to ESA in Portland this year?

So who is going to be at the Ecological Society of America meeting this year in Portland, August 6-11th?It will be my first time at the conference, so I won't know many people...

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Indeed, I'll be there too!  I like to meet new conservation friends with morning runs, so I will likely organize a couple of runs, maybe one right near the conference, and one somewhere in a nearby park where we can look for wildlife.  The latter would probably be at an obscenely early hour, so we can drive somewhere, ideally see elk (there are elk within 25 minutes of Portland!), and still get back in time for the morning sessions.

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Global shortage of Raspberry Pis - What are the alternatives

So, there is a global shortage of Raspberry Pis, the open source micro-computer that has been popular amongst open hardware designers and hobbyists alike. Like...

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Have you considered Arduinos?

UPDATE: The Banana Pi didnt work out for us as it was not possible to track back all the components and ensure that they were responsibly sourced. The Rock board did work for us and we were able to port our system onto this. We will be rolling out units using this over the summer. It also looks like Raspberry Pis are coming back on line and we were able to secure a bulk order for deliver mid-summer

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Exploring storage options for mass data collection

Hi all. I'm currently exploring options for data storage en masse. With our project we will be collecting 24hr hydrophone data, drone video 6hr per day, photography &...

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Hi Adam!

I mostly live within the ecoacoustics space so I'll just speak on the hydrophone part of your request; Arbimon is a free web/cloud-based platform with unlimited storage for audio files. We've got an uploader app as well for mass-uploading lots of files. There's also a bunch of spectrogram visualization/annotation tools and analysis workflows available. It's AWS running under the hood.

I have some experience working directly with AWS & Microsoft Azure, and I've found personally that AWS was more user-friendly and intuitive for the (fairly simplistic) kinds of tasks I've done.  

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Alex Rogers: Acoustic Devices for Biodiversity Monitoring — Smart Forests Atlas

In this radio episode, we speak to Alex Rogers, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. We discuss how Alex's research team developed the acoustic recording device AudioMoth, how low-cost technologies can democratise biodiversity monitoring, and how sensing technologies can lead to certain species and environments being monitored more than others.

Interviewers: Max Ritts and Michelle Westerlaken

Producer: Harry Murdoch


Catch up with The Variety Hour: March

Catch up on our March Variety Hour, where we talk about building autonomous camera traps for insects, get an update about the arbimon tool for ecoacoustics, learn about the Biodiversity Accelerator+ which is now open...

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