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Measuring Biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

In this customer story, members of the IPBio-Biodiversity Research Institute of Sao Paulo set out to uncover the range of animals that call the Atlantic Forest home. Discover how they used wildlife recording to...

  • Measure biodiversity at different canopy levels
  • Detect over 30 species of birds
  • Understand differences in activity levels at various sites

Research Location

The Atlantic Forest is a globally threatened ecosystem with only 7% of its original extent remaining, placing it on the top 5 Most Endangered Forests List. Even though the Amazon is much larger, and more publicized, the Atlantic Forest harbors a range of biological diversity similar the Amazon, but its fauna is undervalued, and it is important to understand species composition, habitat use, distribution and behavioral patterns in order to better protect and manage habitats.

Measuring Biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Henrique Domingos, IPBio biologist, setting up the Song Meter SM4 on the Betary Reserve.

Choosing Acoustics

With the difficulty and high cost for researchers to stay in the field for an extended period of time to monitor and document their observations, IPBio turned to Wildlife Acoustics and their Song Meter wildlife audio recorders to silently monitor and record the sounds of the Atlantic Forest.

Animal acoustic vocalizations are similar to a human fingerprint in that their acoustic signatures are unique to species. Capturing sound recordings of wildlife in an ombrophilous dense forest, the objective is to record species behavior, understand their distribution, habitat use and peak periods of activity. With the support of Wildlife Acoustics, IPBio is working on constructing a "sound bank" to analyze species well-being and use the data to provide recommendations for conservation efforts of the endangered Atlantic Forest species.

Project Goals

The Betary Reserve in Iporanga, SP, Brazil is the first Observatory for Biodiversity (OBBIO) station for IPBio. The specific purpose of the OBBIO station is to:

  • Identify how many vertebrate species inhabit the Betary Reserve;
  • Map species distribution on the reserve and understand in which periods of the year they occur;
  • Observe the variation of species and long-term distribution, and understand the relationship between the distribution and ecological succession of the forest;
  • Identify the reproductive period of these species, through sound, or the recording of images of pregnant females or during child-rearing;
  • Record the sounds emitted by the species and understand the relationship between the observed behavior and the type of vocalization
  • Disseminate this data to the scientific community and the general public
Measuring Biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Analysis

Identifying the diverse range of birds, amphibians, mammals, and insects found on the reserve presents a unique challenge! Since 2018, IPBio has been using the Wildlife Acoustics Kaleidoscope Pro analysis software to facilitate species identification. The benefits were apparent immediately.

Kaleidoscope Pro’s clustering technology automatically and efficiently organized and sorted the vocalizations.

This speed of analysis is unprecedented for IPBio and has made the process of developing classifiers, substantially more efficient.

Measuring Biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Howler Monkey

Measuring Biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Results

To date, IPBio has collected approximately 1000 hours (or about 41 days) of audio from 4 sites on the Betary Reserve. In a very short period of time approximately 30 species of birds have been detected, among them the Carpornis melanocephal--a rare bird categorized as "vulnerable" according to the List of Threatened Species of the Brazilian Fauna.

Moreover, several mammalian species were detected, including the black capuchin monkeys and several species of howler monkeys, a mammal commonly found on the Betary Reserve that can be heard clearly from 3 miles away, but is not easy to observe visually.

Several species of amphibians have also been documented, including Caramaschi’s Hatchet-faced tree frog, Bailey’s tree frog and the snouted treefrog.

Over the coming years IPBio will continue to develop a sound bank and study the seasonal habits of wildlife on our reserve in the Atlantic Forest and then expand to other biomes in Brazil as the organization grows. To read their report in more detail click here.

Additional Info

  • Products: Song Meter SM4BAT, Echo Meter Touch, Kaleidoscope Pro Software
  • Research Type: Detect and Identify Bats
  • Species: Bats
  • Field Story Type: Customer Field Stories