WILDLABS VIrtual Meetup: Acoustic Monitoring

The fourth and final event in Season 3 of the WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series will explore Acoustic Monitoring in conservation. The meetup will be held on Tuesday, March 10th from 9:00pm-10:30pm GMT / 5:00pm-6:30pm EDT. 

Date published: 2020/02/05


The WILDLABS Virtual Meetup Series is a program of webinars for community members and wider partners to discuss emerging topics in conservation technology and leverage existing community groups for virtual exchange. The aim of the series is to bring leading engineers in the tech sector together with academics and conservation practitioners to share information, identify obstacles, and discuss how to best move forward.

Season One of the series took place in late 2018, covering new data collection techniques through Networked Sensors for Security and Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Prevention and Next-Generation Wildlife Tracking, and effective utilization of that information through Big Data in ConservationSeason Two ran during the first half of 2019 and focused on Tools and Spaces for Collaboration, the Low-Cost Open-Source Solutions these approaches are producing, and how to put the information they’re generating to use through Creative Approaches to Data-Driven Storytelling.

Season Three is taking place throughout the second half of 2019 and is exploring the theme of noninvasive monitoring technologies in conservation. This season's topics include Camera TrappingDronesEnvironmental DNA (eDNA), and Acoustic Monitoring. After a more approach-driven second season, we’re eager to be diving back into the realm of development and implementation in the context of these ever-evolving tools.

We are always looking to tailor these meetups to community interests and needs, so if you have ideas about specific discussion points you'd like to see covered during this season please join the thread and share your thoughts.

Meetup 4: Acoustic Monitoring

Date & Time 

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 

9:00pm-10:30pm GMT / 5:00pm-6:30pm EDT

Background & Need

Acoustic sensors enable efficient and non-invasive monitoring of a wide range of species, including many that are difficult to monitor in other ways. Although they were initially limited in application scope largely due to cost and hardware constraints, the development of low-cost, open-source models like the Audiomoth in recent years has increased access immensely and opened up new avenues of research. For example, some teams are using them to identify illicit human activities through the detection of associated sounds, like gunshots, vehicles, or chainsaws (e.g. OpenEars).

With this relatively novel dimension of wildlife monitoring rapidly advancing in both marine and terrestrial systems, it is crucial that we identify and share information about the utility and constraints of these sensors to inform efforts. A recent study identified advancements in hardware and machine learning applications, as well as early development of acoustic biodiversity indicators, as factors facilitating progress in the field. In terms of limitations, the authors highlight insufficient reference sound libraries, a lack of open-source audio processing tools, and a need for standardization of survey and analysis protocols. They also stress the importance of collaboration in moving forward, which is precisely what this meetup will aim to facilitate. 


The aims of this discussion are as follows: to introduce acoustic monitoring in conservation; to describe how these sensors being used, including what needs they are addressing and how they fit into the wider conservation tech ecosystem; to discuss the future of acoustic loggers as a conservation tool, and to identify the obstacles in advancing their capacity, including the role of machine learning.


  • Welcome and introductions (5 min)
  • David Watson, Professor in Ecology at Charles Sturt University; Chief Investigator Manager at the Australian Acoustic Observatory (10 min)
  • Dimitri Ponirakis, Senior Noise Analyst & Applications Manager for Cornell University's Bioacoustics Research Program (10 min)
  • Third speaker TBC (10 min)
  • Q&A discussion with speakers (20 min)
  • Optional ongoing discussion and community exchange (30 min)
  • Takeaways and wrap up (5 min)


Register here to attend the meetup. Once you've registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to join the event.