Ecological Analysis of the Soundscape


Essentially all of the earth’s ecosystems have been influenced by human activity. Many scientists and policy analysts believe that the state of the earth’s environment is acute and that prudent action is needed to achieve a more sustainable planet. Of critical importance to the goal of sustainability is the preservation of bio-rich ecosystems, which are also sensitive to human activity. Such ecosystems must be monitored for continuous health assessment, forewarnings of potential crises and opportunities to take remedial action. Failure to care for the environment will create enormous expenses and potentially irreversible damage. Hence, proactive measures are needed to develop methods to monitor changes to ecosystems. Research has begun to generate sensor networks for monitoring natural phenomena, but much work is still needed. Monitoring biodiversity within ecosystems is enormously difficult and methods that are not labor intensive and highly intrusive are needed.

This need for new methods drove the intellection of an approach to ecological inspection that integrates biological information from a myriad of disciplinary observations into a compendious model of perception. Driven by a diverse set of challenging ecological questions involving the design of integrated and adaptive systems composed of highly heterogeneous sensors (in situ and ex situ), this research uses acoustic signals as the prime marker of the health of our environment. Ecological Acoustics Research (EAR)  focuses on the use of sound and other biophysical information to assess the dynamics and conditions of ecosystems. Such research requires a multidisciplinary approach that integrates ecology, acoustics, communication technologies, computer engineering, geography and information management expertise.

Bryan Pijanowski and a Team of Students Configure a Microphone in the Field

Dr. Bryan Pijanowski

Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

To contact us:

Phone: 765.496.2215

Fax: 765.496.2422


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Department of Forestry and Natural Resources