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Listening to wildlife reveals ecosystem changes after hurricanes

Cara J

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When Ben Gottesman and his colleagues from Purdue University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration set up acoustic sensors in Puerto Rico, they wanted to see how acoustic signatures correlated with fish and other wildlife diversity. What they didn’t know as they set up their monitoring sites — on the coastal gradient of the Guanica Dry Forest and on nearby coral reefs — was that two intense hurricanes would soon hit the island. When Hurricanes Irma and Maria arrived in September 2017, they would give them some unexpected insights into how sound-producing terrestrial and marine species responded to these storms. “It gave us a really interesting window to test whether passive acoustic monitoring could help us better understand the ecological impacts of this type of disturbance,” said Gottesman, lead author of the recent research and PhD candidate at Purdue University’s Center for Global Soundscapes. He presented the findings presented at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon, last month. “One of the real benefits of passive acoustic monitoring stations is that you can obtain baseline data. Then, if a disturbance event occurs, you have that prior baseline information that you can use for a pre-post comparison.” [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/listening-to-wildlife-reveals-ecosystem-changes-after-hurricanes/

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