Eavesdropping on nature to monitor biodiversity

Eco-acoustics is becoming a powerful tool for documenting and understanding Australia’s unique faunal diversity. Research interest in the field continues to develop rapidly, leading to new approaches and applications. 

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) researchers are using this emerging field of science to monitor forest health, recently deploying some acoustic recording units to record the soundscape in the northern jarrah forest near Mundaring. 

The International Society of Ecoacoustics says this interdisciplinary science recognises that sounds can be both the subject and tools of ecological research.  

As the subject, sounds are investigated to understand their evolution, functions and properties under environmental pressures. As tools, sounds are used to study and monitor animal diversity, abundance, behaviour, dynamics and distribution, and their relationship with ecosystems and the environment. 

In a YouTube video (see link below), DBCA explains that this form of low impact monitoring can assist in understanding ecosystems and the animals that live within them. The method can be used as a good indicator of biodiversity and to learn how things are affecting the forest and how the animals are responding.  

YouTube video link here.