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
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