A collaborative team of ecologists, led by those from Trinity College Dublin, has been using recordings of animal noises to assess biodiversity in sub-tropical Japan. The team assessed how effective these acoustic surveys were for pinpointing Okinawa’s wild and wonderful fauna in different sonic conditions — and discovered that the incessant choruses of the local cicadas disguise the true diversity of the region.
The work, just published in the journal Ecological Indicators, underlines the great potential that acoustic surveys have for characterising the biodiversity of habitats while also highlighting some major potential pitfalls.
Many scientists believe we are now living through the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history, which has largely been driven by human actions and our exploitation of the environment, but there is general consensus that it is not too late to halt declines in biodiversity if we act now. However, we need to know which species