When: April 12, 2018 at 4:30 p.m., reception to follow
Who: Mitch Aide, University of Puerto Rico
Where: WWF’s Washington, D.C. Headquarters (1250 24th St. NW, Washington, DC 20037)
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About the seminar:
There is an urgent need to increase the temporal and spatial coverage of ecological data collection in response to the myriad of anthropogenic threats (e.g. extinction crisis, disease, climate change) to global biodiversity, specifically for the fauna. Government and corporate policy makers are excluding biodiversity in decision making because of the difficulties in measurement. Acoustic monitoring can help us greatly improve our ability to monitor population change in thousands of species, if the ecological and conservation communities incorporate this technology into their monitoring and research projects. Other visual monitoring techniques are restricted in what they monitor due to forest canopy, or only capture large megafauna rather than the biodiversity within a system and acoustical monitoring fills those gaps.
Over the last ten years, we have developed the Automated Remote Biodiversity Monitoring Network (ARBIMON) which has demonstrated how inexpensive monitoring stations can collect a continuous stream of biodiversity acoustic data. These data can be uploaded, processed, and stored in the cloud in almost real-time and can easily be shared with colleagues around the world. Furthermore, analytical tools have been developed for soundscape analyses and for creating species-specific identification models. This technology can easily provide detailed and long-term data for monitoring the fauna around the globe.
In this presentation I will show how the elevation distribution of amphibians in Puerto Rico has changed over the last 30 years, presumably due to climate change. In addition, I will share soundscape analyses from a recently completed WWF forest management project from Madre de Dios, Peru. These examples demonstrate the power of acoustic monitoring for population and community level analyses. A global network of acoustic monitoring stations could provide detailed information on many species in real-time. Furthermore, these data will serve as an invaluable historic record; each recording is the equivalent of a museum specimen.
About the Speaker:
Dr. T. Mitchell Aide is a tropical ecologist who has been a professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras since 1992. He has trained 35 MS, PhD, and postdoctoral fellows, the majority from Latin America. His research interests cover a diversity of topics related to tropical forest ecology, including plant/animal interactions, forest dynamics, restoration ecology, land change, community ecology, and acoustic biodiversity monitoring. Presently, his research focuses on understanding how global change is affecting land-use patterns and biodiversity. In addition, Dr. Aide, in collaboration with computer scientists, has develop the ARBIMON cloud-based platform for storing, sharing and analyzing audio recordings.