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!


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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Interesting, thanks Pshemek! I'm assuming you mean 144h on a 24/7 schedule? I wonder how schedule type could affect battery life... More writing to card = more energy, right?

I'm really intrigued that you managed to modify the Micro with Li-ion batteries. I'd definitely like to explore this possibility. 



Thanks for this Carly. I didn't know the Swifts were for sale!? I've been curious about them before, but only ever seen them advertised as "for lease" from the Cornell Lab's website. Ah well... I've got the Micros now, and I'm sure they'll be fine. Might still shoot an email over to Cornell about those though, the battery life potential could make them great long-term soundscape monitors.

So they technically are "leased" but it's expected you won't return them. I think they have to use that wording to maintain their non-profit status or something like that. 

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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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Hi @tom_august this is a very important topic given the global shortages we are seeing. I tend to use really low power micros rather than Pis for my stuff if I can, but I'd be very interested to hear about alternatives. I take it you are doing some reasonably heavy processing given the need for 4Bs? I have a few old 3s you are welcome to. A great list from @PshemekZ there. I don't know much about these: 

But didn't see them in the list. 

 @Freaklabs will likey have some ideas too. Looking forward to hearing more.



Unfortunately not much to add. I think there was an assumption that Raspberry Pi's would always be available and it's turning out that it's unfortunately not the case. I'm guilty of this for standard chips. I didn't think there'd be such a huge shortage that spread across so many chip families which left us scrambling.  I'm sure the supply crunch will ease up soon so the RasPi shortage should ease. It should be considered thought that should something happen to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there's a possibility that the production could end. Since Raspberry Pi's are not open source, this would be devastating to many projects that rely on them. 

As for porting to another platform, I guess the question would be which platform to bet on for the Raspberry Pi alternate and possibly eventual successor. It would probably need to be open source, widely available, and have enough community around it to support itself. Nothing immediately comes to mind (Jetson possibly but not open source and subject to whims of nVidia).

And perhaps this could turn into a community project to come up with an open platform that conservation communities can standardize on where availability could also be guaranteed. There's a lot of exciting things happening with the RISC-V architecture, which could be a good candiate.

As an update from us, we are playing around with two alternatives:

  • Banana PI BPI-M5 M5 4GB 4 x 2GHz 
  • Radxa Rock 4 SE 

I'll update once we have results!


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Unifying acoustic metadata

Let's be honest, there are only a few of us that get super excited about metadata standards. However, it's perhaps ironic that the highly technical (and perhaps boring to some)...

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Hi Jamie, this is super exciting! I had not realized that PAMGuard integration was going to be part of the plan for Tethys - so thrilling! 

One quick question - when processing large datasets, often I end up with a series of binary/database files (e.g., separate runs for separate frequency bands). Does Tethys accommodate the multiple file scenario? 

Would love to give it a whirl when appropriate. 

Yeah, it's an exciting project. Also will be a great excuse to improve PAMGuard documentation - something sorely needed. Python libraries also on the way as part of this.

As for Tethys, yes it will accommodate the multiple configuration file scenario - ideally the end game will be that any configuration you use in PAMGuard will be directly exportable to a Tethys database. If you use multiple configurations, then each is a separate Tethys database, however, when these are exported they can be amalgamated into one because the Tethys is clever enough to know these are the same data processed in different ways. 

"Would love to give it a whirl when appropriate. " - might be a while but noted! :-)

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WILDLABS Digest: 4 November 2022

A new issue of our community digest just went out! Check it out to discover a big platform update, and a summary of all the latest content from across WILDLABS in one easy to scan place!


Your HydroMoth experience!

Hi everyone,we just got our first dedicated #hydromoth in the post...

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Thanks for the little push on twitter ;-)

I willl be using the #hydromoth in the Austrian Danube freshwater ecosystem.
The Donau-Auen National Park preserves the last great floodplain landscape in Central Europe, between the cities of Vienna and Bratislava. I´m working with colleagues combining sounds and eDNA on fish and European pond turtles. I´m also testing the Pond Acoustic Sampling Scheme by @CarlosAbrahams et al.

Now what about your species of interest?


Cleaning Hydromoth cases

After some time underwater (freshwater) the Hydromoth cases start showing
quite some biofouling. How do you clean your cases? I tried my ultrasonic cleaner and it worked quite well:


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Data mgmt for Passive Acoustic Monitoring best practices?

Hello!I'm running a small passive acoustic monitoring project for terrestrial species, using audiomoths and swifts. How do people and organizations manage the ballooning datasets...

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Hi Alex--

The first thing I'd suggest you think through is how much data you have vs how much data you are currently working on. Because if you have data from previous years that you want to ensure you're storing securely and reliably but don't need immediate access to in order to run analysis on, that opens up some options. You can compress data using lossless algorithms like FLAC, where the compression ratio varies but 50% is a pretty good margin, and then convert back to WAV if necessary for reanalysis. Compressing using MP3, OGG, AIFF, or other compression algorithms is an option that saves even more storage space but you will lose information in ways you wouldn't with FLAC--it depends on your specific needs.

I'd also recommend setting up a RAID array (RAID = "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks"). This offers some additional security in event of a drive failure. A lot of folks who do video editing, probably the most similar use case to people working with acoustic data who also lack the institutional support of a large company or university IT department use a local NAS enclosure like that are designed for just this purpose. Some higher initial startup costs than just buying individual USB hard drives but that does come with some perks including additional reliability and can be faster to read data depending on the exact drive specs and your local networking setup.

There are also low-cost cloud storage services like Amazon's Glacier. However, getting these set up can be a little bit tricky and they are not particularly responsive (for example, if you upload data to Glacier, it will be very safe, but getting it back if you need to use it again can take a few days depending on the dataset size).

Hello Alex,

   My information might not be that helpful to you, still, our organisation have an Enterprise license of AWS cloud and we store all our media files (video, pictures, audio etc.) there. We are also using a media management solution, Piction, thru which we upload the files into the S3 bucket and in the process it also captures the file metadata (some of the metadata values needs to be entered manually). This is useful to search the files if someone wants to view or process the file later. We are soon deciding on the file storage configuration so that old files will move to cheap storage like AWS Glacier, which will take a maximum of a week time to retrieve it.  


Hi Alex,

I'd go much further along the lines that David @dtsavage sets out. Before jumping to implementations, better think through why you want to keep all that data, and for who? From your question, it appears you have at least three purposes:

1- for yourself to do your research

2- for others to re-use.

3- for yourself to have a back-up

For 1) you should do what works best for you.

For 3) use your organization's back-up system or whatever comes close to that

For 2 and 3) As you are indicating yourself : deposit your data at your nation's repository or if your nation doe not have one. It may be some documentation work ( which is what you should do anyways, right? ), but then you can stop worrying about holding on to it. Someone else is doing that for you and they do a much better job - because it is their job. Moreover, you increase the chance that other will actually become aware of all that data that you are sitting on by putting it into a repository. Who is otherwise going to find out and how that you have those disks on your desk? Lastly, depositing your data can also serve as a back-up. If you don't want to share it before you've published about it, there is likely the option of depositing under time-embargo or of depositing while requiring your consent for any re-use. 

You ask how many people actually do this? You can find the answers at the repository, but I suggest that what matters most is whether you want to for your own reasons, and whether your funders, or organization's funders require it.

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Software to aid acoustic sound files visualization/labelling + Software to syncronize video/acoustic sonograms

Hi everybody!I am currently trying to figure out if there is any open-source software that could improve our citizen science project on bat monitoring in Europe (and potentially...

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I would also recommend Arbimon. It is well set up to handle Audiomoth recordings. Being cloud based, you will need a good internet connection for sound file upload. I'm just starting to investigate its use for Song Scope recordings. Setting up the call recognisers will be a slow process, but they can be made available to all users once done.

You could try using a video editor like DaVinci for looking at your video and audio together. I don't think DaVinci displays sonograms by default (just waveform) but I think it will open your selected audio in an external editor which would allow you to see the sonograms and make measurements with something like Audacity or Kaleidoscope.

The open-source program Audacity can show the spectrograms and histograms and has quite a lot of other useful features, e.g. playing ultrasound calls slower, so it can be heard by people. 

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Conservation Technology Intern (Vietnam) 

Meredith S. Palmer
*New closing date!* WILDLABS and Fauna & Flora International are seeking an early career conservationist for 12-month paid internship position to grow and support the Southeast Asia regional community in our global...

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Acoustic Monitoring Biologist (Avian)

The Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) seeks a biologist to assist with an autonomous recording unit (ARU) bird monitoring project at California off-highway vehicle recreation parks and other ARU monitoring projects...

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Audio Across Domains Workshop 2022

A collaborative and cross-disciplinary meeting of audio data scientists spawns creative research collaborations 

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Are there any papers you/anyone would recommend discussing or utilizing the representation learning you discuss in the 'Frontiers in data analysis methods' section of your summary...
Maybe not precisely what you're looking for Carly, but Dan Stowell's new paper in PeerJ is a great introduction to computational methods that are being and could be applied to...
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Audio Data Across Domains (AudioXD) Workshop

Hi Wildlabs community - I'm very excited to announce the workshop below, which I hope some of you will be interested in attending. I want to highlight that the event will...

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Great minds Alice!! I'd actually sent your workshop to justin separately this morning because of the alignment with audioxd. 

As for joining things up globally, I think you're right. Looking at all that's happening in the bioacoustics community right now, seeing all these sort of events, what's happening with the bioacoustics stack exchange, and hearing the conversations that are happening - and it feels like such an opportune time to find a way to support all of these efforts link up and join forces. We have some plans on this front that will mean we'll be able to provide coordination support to help, and I'm interested to hear what people think is needed. 



Thanks Alice, and great to hear from you and Steph about the work that you all are leading. It would be great to follow up on the idea of doing more international collaboration in the ecoacoustics/bioacoustics space. If you're interested, feel free to drop me a line to catch up sometime about ideas.

Also, something of a side note, but we'll also have a Wildlabs blog post up summarizing the AudioXD meeting soon, hopefully.

I love the idea of increasing international collaboration and inclusion within acoustic monitoring! I think there particularly needs to be more collab'ing between the terrestrial & aquatic/marine acoustic monitoring folks! 

It would be great for more virtual/hybrid events to foster such international inclusion, so anything to facilitate that sort of online platform would be awesome! 

There is also the new Bioacoustics Stack Exchange for Q&A. And the upcoming IBAC conference in Japan next October (2023).  

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Mangrove soundscape

Hello everyone, I am currently working on the restoration of mangroves in an area of Colombia. I want to do an acoustic monitoring...

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You might check out the devices listed in the Conservation Tech Directory - you can search for 'acoustic recorder' or 'ARU' or something like that.

The most common off-the-shelf models (other than Frontier Labs' BARLTs mentioned above😊) are Open Acoustic Devices Audiomoths & Hydromoths (which may be particularly useful for you since they come in completely watertight cases that can be stuck underwater for deployments), Wildlife Acoustics' SongMeter series, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Swift units.  



Are you interested only in airborne sounds or do you want to deploy hydrophones? That decision would inform a lot of other decisions about your purchase of equipment, as would having a clearer picture of your budget.

Hi there Camilo, 

What an interesting project! If you are looking for a lower cost, but effective tools for acoustic monitoring you might want to look into two options: 

SoundTraps - are very commonly used and perform quite well: 

SonarPoints - these are also a great instrument option: 

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