Web technology helps scientists track species in ecosystems

July 16, 2013 at 5:32 PM
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, July 16 (UPI) -- Scientists in Puerto Rico say Web-enabled technology allows them monitor the presence of animal species in an ecosystem by analyzing their sounds.

The newly developed technology makes the challenge of identifying and monitoring the fluctuations of thousands of species in tropical ecosystems much easier, they said.

A group of scientists led by Mitchell Aide and Carlos Corrada-Bravo of the University of Puerto Rico have analyzed thousands of audio recordings of tropical birds, frogs, monkeys and insects in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, recorded by automated stations placed in their natural habitat, to identify the species concerned.

The technology, which combines both software and in-situ hardware, is able to deliver the results in real-time over the Internet, the researchers report in the journal PeerJ.

The hardware, using inexpensive components such as iPods and car batteries, records 144 1-minute recordings per day in remote sites and sends them in real-time to a base station up to 25 miles away.

The recordings are then forwarded to the project server in Puerto Rico where they are processed and made available to the world through the Internet in less than a minute.

The new methodology can provide a verifiable permanent record of species presence, Corrada-Bravo said.

"Each recording is the equivalent of a museum sample, which can be analyzed with the knowledge and technologies we have today, but which will be permanently stored so that biologists 20 or 50 years from now, will be able to analyze these recordings with new technologies and ideas."

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