Listening to nature : acoustic monitoring of the environment

Planitz, Birgit, Roe, Paul, Sumitomo, Jiro, Towsey, Michael W., Williamson, Ian, Wimmer, Jason, & Zhang, Jinglan (2009) Listening to nature : acoustic monitoring of the environment. In Microsoft eScience Workshop 2009, 15–17 October 2009, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

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The requirement to monitor the rapid pace of environmental change due to global warming and to human development is producing large volumes of data but placing much stress on the capacity of ecologists to store, analyse and visualise that data. To date, much of the data has been provided by low level sensors monitoring soil moisture, dissolved nutrients, light intensity, gas composition and the like. However, a significant part of an ecologist’s work is to obtain information about species diversity, distributions and relationships. This task typically requires the physical presence of an ecologist in the field, listening and watching for species of interest. It is an extremely difficult task to automate because of the higher order difficulties in bandwidth, data management and intelligent analysis if one wishes to emulate the highly trained eyes and ears of an ecologist. This paper is concerned with just one part of the bigger challenge of environmental monitoring – the acquisition and analysis of acoustic recordings of the environment. Our intention is to provide helpful tools to ecologists – tools that apply information technologies and computational technologies to all aspects of the acoustic environment.

The on-line system which we are building in conjunction with ecologists offers an integrated approach to recording, data management and analysis. The ecologists we work with have different requirements and therefore we have adopted the toolbox approach, that is, we offer a number of different web services that can be concatenated according to need. In particular, one group of ecologists is concerned with identifying the presence or absence of species and their distributions in time and space. Another group, motivated by legislative requirements for measuring habitat condition, are interested in summary indices of environmental health. In both case, the key issues are scalability and automation.

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ID Code: 27330
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: acoustic analysis, bioacoustics, environmental analysis
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND IMAGE PROCESSING (080100) > Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing not elsewhere classified (080199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > ECOLOGY (060200) > Community Ecology (060202)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Life Sciences
Past > Schools > School of Software Engineering & Data Communications
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 10 Sep 2009 22:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 14:00

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