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Bioécologie

Spying on small wildlife sounds using affordable collar-mounted miniature microphones: an innovative method to record individual daylong vocalisations in chipmunks

11 Mai 2015,

Publié par Bioécologie

A collar-mounted spy microphone for recording individual sound emissions in free-ranging chipmunks. Two individual chipmunks equipped with the device for a recording of 24 h in natural conditions. Photos by C. Couchoux.
A collar-mounted spy microphone for recording individual sound emissions in free-ranging chipmunks. Two individual chipmunks equipped with the device for a recording of 24 h in natural conditions. Photos by C. Couchoux.

Charline Couchoux, Maxime Aubert, Dany Garant & Denis Réale (2015). Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 10118 / doi:10.1038/srep10118

Abstract: Technological advances can greatly benefit the scientific community by making new areas of research accessible. The study of animal vocal communication, in particular, can gain new insights and knowledge from technological improvements in recording equipment. Our comprehension of the acoustic signals emitted by animals would be greatly improved if we could continuously track the daily natural emissions of individuals in the wild, especially in the context of integrating individual variation into evolutionary ecology research questions. We show here how this can be accomplished using an operational tiny audio recorder that can easily be fitted as an on-board acoustic data-logger on small free-ranging animals. The high-quality 24 h acoustic recording logged on the spy microphone device allowed us to very efficiently collect daylong chipmunk vocalisations, giving us much more detailed data than the classical use of a directional microphone over an entire field season. The recordings also allowed us to monitor individual activity patterns and record incredibly long resting heart rates, and to identify self-scratching events and even whining from pre-emerging pups in their maternal burrow.

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