Soundscaping

A new way to measure habitat quality

True Leaf Katydid

Zabalius Aritus  True Leaf Katydid

Another important platform for sharing information is the annual Fynbos Forum, that was held at Montagu this year. Of great interest to me and I think to all who love the Kogelberg was a presentation by three students from the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology on soundscaping.

We all know that there is a drive to put Maties at the forefront of innovation. AC Thompson, CS Bazelet and MJ Samways apparently had this in mind when they decided to determine if katydids’ songs can be used as an indicator of habitat quality in the fynbos biome.

They think that the songs produced by male katydids could provide a sensitive and non-invasive way to detect habitat quality in the Cape Floral region. Katydids’ songs are species specific and because so much is known about their species distribution and life history, their sounds could be useful as bio-indicators of environmental conditions.

From November this year to April 2016 the researchers are going to gather acoustic samples in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve at 25 sites across the three zones of the biosphere reserve, namely the core, the buffer and the transition zones. This will be complemented by acoustic surveys during which calls are recorded and numbers of species and individuals counted.

The expected outcomes are that there will be, among others, apparent differences in species composition and acoustic diversity across the three zones and that acoustic monitoring will prove to be an effective way to monitor the fynbos biome.

I wish these three all of the best with this study and we look forward to receiving a report back from them.

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  Vol 2, Issue 3 - September 2015
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