High microphone signal-to-noise ratio enhances acoustic sampling of wildlife

2020 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​High microphone signal-to-noise ratio enhances acoustic sampling of wildlife​
Darras, K. F.; Deppe, F.; Fabian, Y. ; Kartono, A. P.; Angulo, A.; Kolbrek, B. & Mulyani, Y. A. et al.​ (2020) 
PeerJ8 pp. e9955​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9955 

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Darras, Kevin F.A.; Deppe, Franziska; Fabian, Yvonne ; Kartono, Agus P.; Angulo, Andres; Kolbrek, Bjørn; Mulyani, Yeni A.; Prawiradilaga, Dewi M.
Background Automated sound recorders are a popular sampling tool in ecology. However, the microphones themselves received little attention so far, and specifications that determine the recordings’ sound quality are seldom mentioned. Here, we demonstrate the importance of microphone signal-to-noise ratio for sampling sonant animals. Methods We tested 12 different microphone models in the field and measured their signal-to-noise ratios and detection ranges. We also measured the vocalisation activity of birds and bats that they recorded, the bird species richness, the bat call types richness, as well as the performance of automated detection of bird and bat calls. We tested the relationship of each one of these measures with signal-to-noise ratio in statistical models. Results Microphone signal-to-noise ratio positively affects the sound detection space areas, which increased by a factor of 1.7 for audible sound, and 10 for ultrasound, from the lowest to the highest signal-to-noise ratio microphone. Consequently, the sampled vocalisation activity increased by a factor of 1.6 for birds, and 9.7 for bats. Correspondingly, the species pool of birds and bats could not be completely detected by the microphones with lower signal-to-noise ratio. The performance of automated detection of bird and bat calls, as measured by its precision and recall, increased significantly with microphone signal-to-noise ratio. Discussion Microphone signal-to-noise ratio is a crucial characteristic of a sound recording system, positively affecting the acoustic sampling performance of birds and bats. It should be maximised by choosing appropriate microphones, and be quantified independently, especially in the ultrasound range.
Issue Date
SFB 990: Ökologische und sozioökonomische Funktionen tropischer Tieflandregenwald-Transformationssysteme (Sumatra, Indonesien) 
SFB 990 | B | B09: Oberirdische Biodiversitätsmuster und Prozesse in Regenwaldtransformations-Landschaften 
Fakultät für Agrarwissenschaften ; Department für Nutzpflanzenwissenschaften ; Abteilung Agrarökologie 
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2020



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