Cool birds don’t sing: Study automates acoustic monitoring of songbird migration

first_imgResearchers have developed machine learning techniques to identify bird song from thousands of hours of field recordings, using the information to uncover variations in migratory songbirds’ arrival to their Arctic breeding grounds.They deployed automated listening devices during spring over five years, analyzed vocal activity to estimate when birds arrived at their breeding sites, and assessed relationships between vocal activity and environmental conditions.They found that the acoustically derived estimates of the birds’ arrival dates were similar to those determined using standard field surveys.Temperature and presence of snow affected the birds’ calling patterns, suggesting that collecting corresponding weather data could help avoid bias in using acoustic monitoring to assess population dynamics. It’s June, and migratory songbirds in the northern hemisphere are at their summer breeding grounds, having traveled thousands of miles from their warm-weather overwintering areas.Birds migrate as far north as the Arctic to take advantage of its large but short-lived surge in insect food and its few predators. The timing of their arrival is critical because their breeding cycles must match seasonal food availability for their chicks to survive.Migratory Lapland longspurs endure the cold en route to their breeding grounds. Image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC 2.0Scientists have shown that as spring temperatures rise, many bird populations are, in fact, migrating north and arriving earlier in the season at their breeding sites, where climate-related shifts in breeding-ground conditions, including environmental conditions and food availability, may help or hinder reproduction of individual species.Most songbirds are too small to carry GPS tracking tags scientists would typically use to follow their migrations north, but they do call intensely once they arrive there in preparation for breeding.To study trends in migration timing, scientists have begun setting out microphones to listen for particular species or the bird diversity at specific sites. Placing numerous relatively inexpensive acoustic listening devices in the field allows researchers to better monitor wildlife communities in remote places and across larger scales than field surveys typically can.Gambel’s white-crowned sparrows, like this one, prefer woody shrubs. As the Arctic continues to warm, shrubs on Alaska’s North Slope are expected to overtake open grasslands. That could create conditions for sparrows to outcompete longspurs and other migratory birds. Image by John WingfieldA multi-institutional research team deployed automated listening devices over five spring breeding seasons at sites in Alaska to capture the vocalizations of two common breeding songbird species. White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and Lapland longspurs (Calcarius lapponicus) both fly to these sites each spring to mate and raise their young.Autonomous recorders in the field can collect data 24/7, and their use has relied on trained experts to listen to the recordings and detect a target species or tally the species present at a given site. However, automated recordings of whole bird communities over hours or days produce data sets too large to review manually.Automating analysis of birdsong patternsTo facilitate the use of acoustic devices in studying whole communities of breeding birds, the researchers developed automated signal processing and machine learning algorithms adapted from human speech research to estimate from acoustic signals when songbird communities arrived each spring at four breeding sites in Alaska. For five seasons (2010 to 2014), the research team recorded songbird vocalizations at the sites at regular intervals from early May through July.An acoustic recording unit near Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska. Image by Heather GreavesThey developed and trained a supervised machine learning algorithm, one that includes human input, to pick out calls of target songbirds from thousands of hours of field recordings that also contained noise from trucks, wind, rain, mosquitos and other bird species. They used the call data to produce a daily community Vocal Activity Index (VAI), a relative measure of the abundance of bird vocalizations at each site. They analyzed the daily VAI values to estimate the dates that the bulk of these birds had arrived at their breeding sites and any relationships between the VAI and environmental conditions, including temperature, wind and snow cover.The researchers also analyzed the sound data using an unsupervised classification, which does not use listener input but classifies data into groups that represent like items, to see if it could pick out the bird songs on its own and use them to estimate the arrival date.Cool birds don’t singThe researchers found that songbird vocal activity varied both in time (days, weeks and years) and the surrounding environment.They state in their paper, “We found that daily fluctuations in snow cover, air temperature, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, and precipitation had a significant impact on the VAI and explained a large proportion of variance.”A Lapland longspur singing near Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska. Image by John WingfieldIn particular, they found calling activity increased noticeably on snow-free days, and they suggest that birds rely on snow-free patches of tundra for food and shelter. Singing takes energy, even more so on colder days; the songbirds in this study either moved on or remained quiet during unfavorable weather.They also found that both the supervised and the unsupervised arrival date estimates closely approximated what human observers recorded at the sites.Tools to study a range of calling creatures The success of the automated analyses is good news for researchers studying animal movements and population dynamics and could help scientists better understand patterns of migration and how they may be adapting to changes in climate patterns.“These tools could speed up the analysis of acoustic datasets packed with biodiversity information valuable to conservationists and others,” Andrew Farnsworth, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, who was not involved in the study, said in a statement. “Understanding the dynamics of songbird arrival and breeding timing is the doorway to thinking about climate change and how temperature, weather and snowfall are affecting various species.”Listen to a Gambel’s white-crowned sparrow singing near Toolik Field Station in arctic Alaska. Audio credit: Oliver et al. 2018Audio Playerhttps://imgs.mongabay.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2018/06/22175149/oliver6AUDIO.wav00:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.A functional unsupervised machine learning method could potentially be extended to any dataset of animal vocalizations. An unsupervised automated analysis does not need to be trained with a reference database of calls, as it does not need to be told what it is hearing.“Our methods could be retooled to detect the arrival of birds and other vocal animals in highly seasonal habitats,” said the study’s lead author, Ruth Oliver, a graduate student at Columbia University. “This could allow us to track large-scale changes in how animals are responding to climate change.”The study also showed that acoustic monitoring must consider environmental factors, such as temperature, that may influence how much animals call and thus lead to biased conclusions, as the listening devices cannot distinguish silence from absence.“Our findings demonstrate that the correct interpretation of avian vocal activity to estimate relative songbird abundance requires pairing of acoustic data collection with meteorological data, as well as consideration of the study communities’ breeding phenology [breeding stage].”“It’s still unclear how songbirds will cope if spring comes even earlier or later than it did during our study period,” said co-author Natalie Boelman. “Species also time their migration and breeding with day length, which isn’t shifting with climate change. Species whose migratory response is hard-wired to day length alone may not adapt as well to a changing environment.”CitationOliver, R., Ellis, D., Chmura, H., Krause, J.S., Pérez, J.H., Sweet, K.S., Gough, L., S. K., Wingfield, & J. Boelman, N.. (2018). Eavesdropping on the Arctic: Automated bioacoustics reveal dynamics in songbird breeding phenology. Science Advances 20 Jun 2018: Vol. 4, no. 6, eaaq1084 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq1084FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Acoustic, Adaptation To Climate Change, Analysis, Artificial Intelligence, Birds, Climate Change, data, Migration, Monitoring, Research, Sensors Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Bolsonaro draws battle lines in fight over Amazon indigenous lands

first_imgParintins, site of Brazil’s big annual indigenous festival, is typical of towns in the Brazilian Amazon. The Sateré, and other indigenous groups living or working there, often endure discrimination and work analogous to slavery. Civil rights are few and indigenous populations inhabit the bottom rung of the economic ladder.Now more than ever, indigenous groups fear the loss of their cultural heritage and land rights as guaranteed under the 1988 Brazilian Constitution. New president Jair Bolsonaro wants to achieve indigenous societal “assimilation,” a process by which an ethnic minority group’s traditional way of life and livelihoods is erased.The strongest advocates of indigenous assimilation are the ruralistas, rural wealthy elites and agribusiness producers, who have the most to gain via access to the timber, land and mineral wealth found within indigenous territories. The bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby is strong in Congress, and it supports Bolsonaro.The Sateré, along with other indigenous groups, have endured a long history marked by extermination and exploitation. Brazil’s 900,000 indigenous people are increasingly joining together to fight the anti-indigenous policies proposed by the Bolsonaro administration and supported by the ruralists. Benito Miquiles, a Sateré man. Image by Matheus ManfrediniIn February, a Mongabay reporting team travelled to the Brazilian Amazon, spending time with the remote Sateré-Mawé, documenting their culture and long-time conflict with mining companies and land grabbers. This series looks at new threats imposed on the Sateré and indigenous groups across Brazil as they’re threatened by the ruralist-friendly policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. The trip was funded by the Amazon Rainforest Journalism Fund in association with the Pulitzer Center and Mongabay.PARINTINS, BRAZIL – On the banks of the Amazon River, in the Parintins municipal district of Amazonas state, Benito Miquiles, a young Sateré indigenous man watches boats come and go. Francesa, the port where he stands, is located in a small bay where the district’s untreated sewage flows into the river. It’s also here that boats travelling to and from the state’s interior stop to unload, with Indians and fisherfolk hefting heavy bags of manioc flour, copaíba oil and guarana, then forced to walk down a narrow 15-foot-long plank and on into town to sell their wares.Benito, who accompanied and guided the Mongabay reporting team throughout its trip, knows better than most the happenings, sounds and smells of Francesa. He lived here, out in the open, slinging his hammock among the boats, for two years while studying for a college degree in Parintins. Now age 25, he recently earned a diploma in intercultural indigenous studies from the Federal University of Amazonas.“It was a big achievement,” the young Sateré-Mawé acknowledges.Benito is proud to be Sateré, but people in Parintins frequently comment that he doesn’t look like a “real Indian.” His hair is stylishly coiffed, he owns a smart phone, takes “selfies” and wears a cap and sunglasses, but for Benito indigenous identity is something that comes from inside himself, irrespective of what he is wearing: “I was born Sateré, I grew up Sateré, and wherever I go I am Sateré. I can use a coat and tie, trainers, smart clothes, but I will always be Sateré.”last_img read more

Bubblepropelled microrockets could operate in the human stomach

first_img Play Magnetically guided movement of a microrocket at a speed of about 100 micrometers per second. Video credit: Wei Gao, et al. ©2012 American Chemical Society The scientists predict that this capability could prove especially useful for a variety of biomedical applications as well as monitoring industrial processes such as semiconductor processing. In addition, because the microrocket’s speed is directly related to the solution’s pH, the devices could be used for sensitive pH sensing, such as detecting changes in stomach acidity. With its biggest advantage of being fueled by its acidic environment, without the need for additional fuel, the microrockets could further expand the scope of micromotor applications in many directions.“With further improvements and optimization, we hope to improve and expand the working environments to milder conditions and extend the lifetime of such microrockets to longer periods,” Wang said. “We are also exploring new materials to broaden the scope of our microengines towards new environments.” (PhysOrg.com) — Recently, researchers have been designing a wide variety of self-propelled micromotors, many of which operate using an oxygen-bubble propulsion mechanism that requires a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide fuel. Since hydrogen peroxide is hazardous at high concentrations, this requirement has hindered practical applications, especially biomedical uses. Now in a new study, scientists have designed and built a new type of micromotor that propels itself through acidic environments with hydrogen bubbles, and requires no additional fuels. At extremely low pH levels, the micromotors can travel at speeds of up to 100 body lengths per second, prompting the scientists to call them “microrockets.” The microrockets are in the shape of tiny tubes, measuring about 10 micrometers long with diameters varying from 2 to 5 micrometers. The researchers fabricated the tubes out of the common polymer polyaniline (PANI) in templates, and then electrodeposited a thin layer of zinc on the inner surface. When the microrockets are immersed in any highly acidic solution, the zinc loses electrons and – due to having a more negative redox potential than hydrogen – promotes the production of hydrogen bubbles. The researchers experimented with using other metals, such as iron and lead, but they did not produce as many bubbles as zinc.Tests showed that the microrockets’ speed increases as the pH of the solution decreases. The fastest speed of 1,050 micrometers per second (equivalent to about 100 body lengths per second) was achieved by a 5-micrometer-diameter microrocket at a pH of -0.2. The speed decreased to about 10 micrometers per second at a pH of 1.3. Although the microckets have a limited pH range, the researchers noted that they could be useful in the stomach, which has a pH range of 0.8-2.0, as well as in some types of human serum. Time-lapse images of a microrocket (a) approaching, (b) capturing, (c) transporting, and (d) releasing a target sphere. Image credit: Wei Gao, et al. ©2012 American Chemical Society Journal information: Journal of the American Chemical Society The microrockets’ speed depends on the pH of the solution. Red and black curves represent microrockets with diameters of 5 and 2 micrometers, respectively. Image credit: Wei Gao, et al. ©2012 American Chemical Society More information: Wei Gao, et al. “Hydrogen-Bubble-Propelled Zinc-Based Microrockets in Strongly Acidic Media.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/ja210874s While the microrockets can move autonomously in this way, the researchers also showed that it’s possible to control their direction and even to make them pick up and release cargo. The scientists did this by depositing a magnetic layer on the microcket’s outer surface, and then magnetically guiding the device in the preferred direction. They showed that a microcket could magnetically capture a polystyrene cargo, transport it on a predetermined path, and then release it by rapidly changing the magnetic field direction. Copyright 2012 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Tiny battery is also a nanomotor PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen The researchers, Wei Gao, Aysegul Uygun, and Joseph Wang from the University of California, San Diego, have published their study on the hydrogen-bubble-propelled microrockets in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.“This is the first reported example of chemically-powered microrockets that can be self-propelled without an external fuel (such as the common hydrogen peroxide),” Wang told PhysOrg.com. “Such acid-powered microrockets could greatly expand the scope of applications of nano-/microscale motors toward new extreme environments (e.g., the human stomach or silicon wet-etching baths) and could thus lead to diverse new biomedical or industrial applications ranging from targeted drug delivery or nanoimaging to the monitoring of industrial processes.” Explore further Play Slow-motion video of a microrocket self-propelled at a speed of about 500 micrometers per second. Video credit: Wei Gao, et al. ©2012 American Chemical Society Tests also showed that the lifetime of the microrockets can vary from 10 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the rate of zinc dissolution. The more zinc the rocket has, and the higher the pH of the solution, the longer the microrocket’s lifetime. Citation: Bubble-propelled microrockets could operate in the human stomach (2012, January 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-01-bubble-propelled-microrockets-human-stomach.htmllast_img read more