Symposium: Measuring bioacoustics

Organizers: Tomas Norton and Pralle Kriengwatana (KU Leuven, Belgium)

Schedule: Wednesday 15th May, Meeting room 7

15:30 – 15:50     Buddhamas Pralle Kriengwatana – Acoustic features of vocalisations of laying hens in positive and negative emotional states

Vocalisations are a promising method for welfare monitoring but assessing the affective state of animals based solely on the type of vocalization produced has limitations. This study compared the acoustic features of specific vocalization types of laying hens in positive and negative emotional states. Vocalisations were recorded when hens received stimuli that varied in arousal and valence. It is expected that vocalisations in positive contexts will be shorter and lower pitched than negative contexts.

15:50 – 16:10     Bruna Bezerra – Primate Detection Through Passive Acoustic Monitoring Varies According to Species and the Biome

Primate loud calls are adapted for transmission over long distances, which could facilitate passive acoustic monitoring (PAM). We tested PAM to assess the use of the acoustic space and presence of Callithrix jacchus and Sapajus flavius in sympatry in Caatinga and Atlantic Forests. We found that primate detection through PAM varies according to species and biome. Thus, we must consider life history traits, landscape attributes and call features to optimise PAM methods for primates.

16:10 – 16:30     Mathilde Coutant – Bioacoustic sensors to monitor farm animal welfare: why the ethology matters
Sound-based sensors have the potential to become important tools for the monitoring of farm animal welfare. While researchers will likely, in the next decade, focus on improving the applicability of such systems in practice, we would like to call for attention on the importance of studying farm animal vocal communication in parallel. We believe more knowledge on how husbandry conditions shape farm animal communication is crucial to ensure a valid use of these tools.

Bioacoustics provide a wealth of information about animals: from individual identity, age, and sex to motivational and emotional states, health state, locomotor activity, spatial distribution, etc. The potential for bioacoustics stretches across many animal categories and species including lab, farm, and zoo animals, and thus has applications in animal production, welfare, and conservation. New technologies are being developed that increase our ability to obtain high quality, long-term, and continuous recordings in previously inaccessible situations and in different species. Novel machine learning techniques are also being developed to objectively reduce the high dimensionality of audio data and quickly quantify large amounts of data. This symposium will exhibit emerging new tools and techniques that allow us to harness the richness of bioacoustics to gain new insights into animal behaviour, health, and welfare.