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An integrated passive acoustic monitoring and deep learning pipeline for black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Rainforest Connection & Arbimon’s Science Outreach Lead, Carly Batist, is the lead author of a new study in the American Journal of Primatology that used passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) and machine learning (ML) to study black-and-white ruffed lemurs in southeastern Madagascar.
Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are keystone species in Malagasy rainforests, as they fill vital pollinator and seed disperser roles. However, they are Critically Endangered and limited to fragments of the once-continuous eastern Malagasy rainforests, which makes them challenging to study. PAM is a promising method to overcome this and effectively provide data on species presence, distribution, and behavior, which can inform conservation efforts.
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Soundscapes & deep learning enable tracking biodiversity recovery in tropical forests

Three members of RFCx’s science team are co-authors on a recent Nature Communications study examining how acoustic monitoring and AI can track forest restoration in the Choco region of Ecuador. The study involved deploying passive acoustic recorders across a restoration gradient, from active pastures and cacao plantations to abandoned pastures and plantations being naturally regenerated and finally to undisturbed forests. The authors combined expert identification of animal calls along with two automated methods, including one that utilized deep learning AI models. The study demonstrates that automated ecoacoustic monitoring can be used to track forest recovery, even beyond vocalizing vertebrates, suggesting its broad use to assess restoration outcomes.
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Harnessing the Power of Sound and AI to Track Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) Targets

Biodiverse ecosystems are critical to the overall health of our planet, providing numerous essential ecosystem services that underpin human well-being and the global economy. The landmark Global Biodiversity Framework lays out a series of powerful targets to combat the current biodiversity loss crisis. However, to track progress towards and ultimately achieve these targets at a global and continuous scale, we need to leverage the power of advanced technologies. In this white paper dive into the power of ecoacoustics & AI to monitor biodiversity, see how they can be used to track progress towards GBF targets & explore case studies from our collaborative work around with world!
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Trends in Parasitology: Using Acoustic Monitoring to Track Disease Risk

Marconi Campos-Cerqueira, Chief Scientist at Rainforest Connection (RFCx), is co-author of a recent paper that highlights how acoustic monitoring can be used to help track infectious disease risks. Published in Trends in Parasitology, the paper discusses how acoustic monitoring can be combined with existing data to strengthen disease surveillance. The authors also describe how acoustic monitoring can be used to better understand the links between land use and human health.
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Neotropical ornithology: Reckoning with historical assumptions, removing systemic barriers & reimagining the future

Rainforest Connection’s (RFCx) Chief Scientist, Marconi Campos-Cerqueira, is one of 124 ornithologists who’ve co-authored a paper reviewing the historic and systematic exclusion of Neotropical ornithologists. In the paper, published in Ornithological Applications, the authors discuss different ways in which researchers from Latin America and the Caribbean are marginalized, despite this region harboring the most bird species on Earth. The authors urge journals to remove financial and language barriers for Neotropical authors and advocate for explicitly anti-colonial, democratic and inclusive practices. Traducciones en español/Traduções em português.
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Arbimon Cluster Analysis

The 21st century marks an era in which biodiversity is threatened at a global scale. Monitored populations of vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish) have seen a devastating 69% drop on average since 1970, according to World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Living Planet Report 2022. And even though habitat loss and degradation due to human activities are still the main threats to animal and plant species worldwide, populations of many species are declining even in natural and protected areas, likely due to climate change and infectious diseases. Biodiversity loss can have significant direct human health impacts if ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs.

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Passive Acoustic Monitoring as a Tool to Investigate the Spatial Distribution of Invasive Alien Species

Invasive alien species (IAS) are a threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function worldwide. Unfortunately, researchers, agencies, and other management groups face the unresolved challenge of effectively detecting and monitoring IAS at large spatial and temporal scales. To improve the detection of soniferous IAS, we introduced a pipeline for large-scale passive acoustic monitoring (PAM). Our main goal was to illustrate how PAM can be used to rapidly provide baseline information on soniferous IAS.

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An Acoustic Journey to a Tropical Island

The world faces a major biodiversity crisis. It is estimated that over the last 500 years, hundreds of animal species have gone extinct. Furthermore, many remaining species have experienced dramatic population declines due to the impacts of human activities, such as hunting, vehicle collisions, habitat loss, the introduction of exotic species, and global warming. To prevent this decline from continuing, it is essential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the natural history, ecology, and distribution of species of great conservation need and the habitats in which they occur.

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Understanding the occupancy patterns of Amazon floodplain birds

In the Amazon basin, several species are restricted to or occur primarily in habitats along rivers. However, little is known about habitat occupancy over time and how seasonal fluctuations in the level of rivers affect bird species occurrence in floodplains. In this study, we verified if the occupancy and detection probability of 10 floodplain bird specialist species are related to 3 environmental variables considered to be important for floodplain birds: the number of Tessaria shrubs, the number of Cecropia trees, and the number of other tree species. We also tested if occupancy and detection probabilities changed among flood pulse seasons.

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How are frogs responding to hurricanes, droughts, and climate change?

Acoustic monitoring can help us understand how the frog community in Puerto Rico responds to different types of disturbances.
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