WCH 2020 Bioacoustic Abstracts

Abstract Submission to WCH

To submit an abstract to WCH follow this link: WCH Abstract Submission

If you want to submit for the bioacoustic symposium you need to choose “Amphibian Bioacoustic Symposium” under themes in the submission portal. 

The abstract and justification for the symposium are at the bottom after the speakers. 

Currently Confirmed Speakers

Seshadri, K. S.

Research Director
Agumbe Rainforest Research Station
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, India

Here’s a Croak; There’s a Croak-Automated monitoring of frogs in the canopy in the Western Ghats of India

Amaël Borzée

Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Ewha Womans University, South Korea

Comparison of call properties, morphometrics and genetics as clade delineating tools in north Asian Hylid treefrogs


Clade delimitation methods have transformed over time, starting from morphology and later primarily relying on tools such as genetic analyses. Recently, these methods have been combined with other variables such as call properties and ecological requirements to provide integrated results. However, each of the methods used may provide different results when used in isolation, raising questions on best practices. Here, we compare genetics, morphometrics and call properties for a the far-eastern Japanese treefrog, Dryophytes japonicus, from North East Asia. The species ranges from central Mongolia to Eastern Russia and the Japanese archipelago in the North, and to the two Koreas and Eastern China to the South West. We collected data from all six countries between 2013 and 2018 and conducted a taxonomic comparison comprising over 500 individuals, including two mtDNA and three nuclear gene fragments, call properties and morphological measurements. Our results support the described split of the clade in two species, but we also recover several sub-lineages. Most interestingly, while morphology only shows a trend towards segregation of sub-clades on the mainland and large islands, call properties and genetics agree on a divergent clade in the North East Asian mainland. Non-significant variations are also detected for isolated populations, such as smaller islands where the opposite pattern is observed with divergent morphologies. In conclusion, while any of the tools used is important on its own, we highlight the importance of combining all variables available for an integrated and geographically variable answer.

Catharina Karlsson

Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, China

Beam forming as an acoustic tool for population counts in amphibians

Amphibians as a group is under severe threat with over 40% of species estimated to be under threat by IUCN, an impediment to the development of effective conservation plans is the lack of baseline information available for a high number of species. Acoustic monitoring is used increasingly around the world, providing large amounts of data useful for studying fields such as occupancy and acoustic niches at a relatively low cost. However, the way the data is collected makes it difficult to use it for accurate population counts as it is not possible assess the location of a call.  Acoustic techniques like beam forming have been used for population counts in avian and marine studies. Beam forming involves multiple microphones on a line and is used to estimate the location of a sound very accurately. This technique requires species specific adjustments but could be advantageous when you have a complex habitat with many species. In this study we tested the technique on multiple amphibian species in a tropical setting using a self-built system. We report on issues with the set-up as well as logistical challenges with implementation and give recommendations on use. We also present analyses on the type of data this technique delivers and what conclusions you can draw from it. We conclude that it is a useful complement to standard acoustic monitoring, which is especially useful for species that are hard to count using classical survey techniques.

Preliminary Speakers

Felipe Toledo, Institute of Biosciences, Universidade Estadual Paulista

Kevin Messenger, Nanjing Forestry University

Guillaume Demare, Natural History Museum Berlin

Sheryn Brodie, James Cook University

Kiyomi Yasumbi, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Johana Goyes Vallejo, University of Kansas

Connor Butler, University of Southampton


Symposium Abstract

Studying amphibians in the wild is often difficult and challenging, especially in remote areas, under hard weather conditions and in rugged terrain. However, many amphibians vocalise, which not only serves as a communication tool between individuals but also enables researchers to record them. Acoustic data, collected from species monitoring programs can provide insights into activity levels, functions of communication, acoustic niches, and behaviour among others. The decrease in price of recorders, the advance in technologies such as on-cue automated recordings allow data to be collected from areas that were previously not within reach. The advance of automated data extraction and increase of computing power have led to the potential to collect, store and analyse vast datasets. By integrating new tools and methods into the field, it is now possible to reach a step further and predict behaviour, breeding phenology, population size, individual interactions, and others, which in turn can be used in predicting population fluctuation, breeding behaviour or even conduct population viability analyses. Such findings would inform conservation practitioners towards mitigating threats to this greatly endangered group of animals. Here we aim to highlight the diversity of use of bioacoustics in amphibian research and how new tools and techniques can be used to further the field.

Symposium Justification

Bioacoustic research is a rapidly expanding field. It is also non-invasive and consequently highly important for the conservation of amphibian species. Considering the lack of resources for amphibian monitoring in a number or regions around the world, this is a potentially cost-effective addition to manual audio-visual encounter surveys. The area of bioacoustics also provide valuable insights into areas such as evolution of acoustic niches, functionality of sound and behaviour. Providing updates from this area and potentially new direction or uses of the data is of high importance.