India is a unique country featuring an enormous biodiversity and four global biodiversity hotspots - the Western Ghats and Eastern Himalayas. Much of this biodiversity is interspersed with a large, rapidly expanding, human population. Along with the challenges of changes in landuse, the Indian economy is also on the rise, which adds another set of challenges. Bioacoustics is a research field at the intersection of physics, biology, ecology, and natural history. It can have various applications; in describing new species of various taxa, in helping understand genetic diversity, in understanding cultural diversity, and providing insights into behaviour and behavioural ecology of various organisms. Bioacoustics has also been used to understand the ecological impacts of deforestation and landscape change. With recent technological innovations, bioacoustics has grown to incorporate new automated recording techniques and innovative acoustic analyses that allow examinations of changing soundscapes and the resulting impact on biodiversity and animal habitats. Although research in biology in India has been rapidly increasing, bioacoustics has had limited capacity in the Indian subcontinent, and there are very few research groups in the country working in this field.
RAVEN is a commercially available software developed by Cornell University, and is arguably one of the most popular softwares being used by the community. Researchers and trainers from Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bioacoustics Research Program and Macaulay Library are visiting IISER Tirupati to demonstrate and train students in RAVEN. They will also demonstrate various recording techniques using hand-held recorders and with their own recorder SWIFT.
Kaleidoscope is another commercially available software developed by Wildlife Acoustics Inc., that also produces bioacoustic recorders - SM4.
This event is hosted at IISER Tirupati, with support from Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), DST that permits greater interaction of technology developments in the industry with the academia.
Throughout the event, recordings of biodiversity in the neighbouring forest areas will be collected, and the trainees will conduct a basic analysis of these recordings.
IISER Tirupati would like to invite students and other researchers who would like to attend this event to apply through this registration form.
There are two segments to this training led by the two visiting groups.
PART A: (14 Mar to 19 Mar) Cornell Lab of Ornithology
1) Recording methods:
Participants can learn methods to record vocalizations from different terrestrial taxa. They can learn how to select and use recording equipment appropriate to their research questions, and learn to select appropriate sampling rate, bit depth , and file types for the taxa and research question being investigated. Field exercises will be conducted in the Eastern Ghats forests where little biodiversity research has been conducted. Participants will be trained by experts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library.
2) Analytical methods:
Participants will learn techniques to conduct basic bioacoustics analyses. Data from field recordings will be used for lab exercises where participants will use the popular bioacoustic analysis software Raven Pro, developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bioacoustics Research Program. Participants will be provided free Raven Pro software licenses and experts from the Bioacoustics Research Program will provide hands-on training on the theory and practice of analysing bioacoustic data.
PART B: (19 Mar Evening to 21 Mar) Wildlife Acoustics Inc
Participants will use SM4 acoustic & ultrasonic detectors from Wildlife Acoustics Inc., and also undertake a night time bat walk with state-of-the-art full spectrum bat detectors. They will also learn select techniques to conduct analyses of long-term acoustic recordings. Participants will learn a hands on approach on how to design and implement recordings, undertake analysis to fit the needs of the users' research requirements and learn to produce quantifiable outputs from both large and small data sets. Education license keys will be provided to all attendees for Kaleidoscope Pro software and training will be given by Wildlife Acoustics' own field ecologists and technicians
Registration Fees for the event:
INR 8000 for PART A (Cornell) + PART B (Wildlife Acoustics) combined (for 10 nights and 9 days) - Only very limited seats available
INR 3000 for only PART B- Wildlife Acoustics (for 3 nights, 2 days) - more seats available.
Participants will be provided basic, shared accommodation at student hostels and all three meals, and tea/coffee with snacks at the breaks. Transport to field locations for acoustic recordings will also be provided, but participants must make their own arrangements to reach IISER Tirupati (connected by air, road and rail). There will be a few pieces of recording equipment to be shared among participants, but you are free to bring your own gear if you prefer.
Please note that more students can be taken for PART B. Interested people can apply for the event through this online form. Selected participants will be intimated by email before February 28th.
Other resource people (and their specialization in parenthesis) at the event:
Holger Klinck, Director, Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell University (marine bioacoustics)
Rohini Balakrishnan, Chair Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (Insect & bat acoustics)
Michael Webster, Director, Macaulay Library, Cornell University (ecology & reproductive biology of birds)
Dinesh Bhatt, Dean Gurukula Kangri University, Haridwar (bird acoustics and behavioural ecology)
Laurel Symes, Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ecology and evolution of animal communication)
Padmanabhan Rajan, IIT Mandi (automated detection and deep learning)
Russell Charif, Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Matthew Meddler, Macaulay Library, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Dipani Sutaria, James Cook University (marine mammals)