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Themed #seabirdersaturday: Acoustic Monitoring

Wylie Horn, July 12, 2015

Hi I'm posting this on behalf of Rachel Buxton who is in the field currently. Rachel is hosting the next themed #seabirdersaturday on Twitter this coming Saturday, 18 July, from 0930-1130 MST, 1530-1730 GMT, 1630-1830 BST, 0330-0530 PT) on Acoustic Monitoring in seabirds.


Acoustic monitoring of seabird populations and seabird breeding islands

Seabirds are among the most threatened group of marine animals. Accordingly, over the past few decades, seabird conservation efforts have increased; including the eradication of harmful introduced predators from breeding sites and implementation of fisheries by-catch mitigation. Population monitoring has therefore become especially important, to inform adaptive management by measuring the outcome of conservation efforts and to provide estimates for trajectory models under predicted future conditions. Despite their threat status and the importance of long-term monitoring, seabird population estimates remain scarce because of the financial and logistical challenges associated with accessing remote island breeding sites. Moreover, many seabirds have cryptic nesting behavior, including below-ground nesting and nocturnal colony attendance, precluding the use of conventional monitoring techniques.
More recently, passive acoustic recorders and automated acoustic analysis have received wide attention as powerful tools to monitor vocalizing wildlife. Colonial seabirds lend themselves to acoustic monitoring, as their aggregated distribution reduces the spatial coverage required for monitoring and the number of vocalizations have been linked to relative abundance. Moreover, the burgeoning field of acoustic ecology examines the relationship between the soundscape (combination of sounds from an environment) and ecosystem functioning. In this way, acoustic monitoring provides an opportunity to not only monitor seabird populations, but also the broader island landscape.

Dr. Rachel Buxton Postdoctoral fellow – Colorado State University

Key references:

Borker AL, McKown MW, Ackerman JT, Eagles-Smith CA, Tershy BR, Croll DA. 2014. Vocal activity as a low cost and scalable index of seabird colony size. Conservation Biology 28:1100-1108.

Buxton RT, Jones IL. 2012. Measuring nocturnal seabird activity and status using acoustic recording devices: applications for island restoration. Journal of Field Ornithology 83:47-60.

Buxton RT, Major HL, Jones IL, Williams JC. 2013. Examining patterns in nocturnal seabird activity and recovery across the western Aleutian Islands, Alaska, using automated acoustic recording. The Auk 130:331-341.

Blumstein DT, et al. 2011. Acoustic monitoring in terrestrial environments using microphone arrays: applications, technological considerations and prospectus. Journal of Applied Ecology 48:758-767.

Oppel S, Hervias S, Oliveira N, Pipa T, Silva C, Geraldes P, Goh M, Immler E, McKown MW. 2014. Estimating population size of a nocturnal burrow-nesting seabird using acoustic monitoring and habitat mapping. Nature Conservation 7:1-13.

Pijanowski BC, Villanueva-Rivera LJ, Dumyahn SL, Farina A, Krause BL, Napoletano BM, Gage SH, Pieretti N. 2011. Soundscape ecology: the science of sound in the landscape. Bioscience 61:203-216.

Comments ( 6 )

Natalia Rosciano

Natalia Rosciano

Hi, I don't have a twitter account, but I find this really intersting and would like to know how can I participate on this meetings. I appreciatte any help! Thanks in advance! Nati.

Wylie Horn

Hi Natalia,

Apologies for the delay in replying.

Creating a twitter account is really the best way to participate. Create it, login, & then search for #seabirdersaturday at the time of the talk to see the posts.


Natalia Rosciano

Natalia Rosciano

Thanks Wylie! If can't make it by the time it starts, would it still be there to see it?

Wylie Horn

If you search on the hashtag #seabirdersaturday the relevant tweets will still be visible afterwards.

Sjúrður Hammer

Sjúrður Hammer

And someone will put all the tweets in a timeline - a socalled storify so that it becomes quite easy to follow different discussion threads and such.