Creation of a study design based on best practices for the project’s objective.

Equipment rental including ARU accessory equipment, shipping, and handling.

Receiving SD cards and/or hard drives. Uploading and structuring data for redundant storage. Setting up organizations and projects and/or data in WildTrax.

Redundant data storage at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. Calculated price guarantees data storage for 5 years.

Expert tagging using WildTrax. All vocalizing taxa (birds, amphibians, mammals) are tagged using a standardized method.

Expert processing of audio data by visual scanning and tagging of the species of interest.

Expert verification of tags generated from either human data processing or recognizer hits.

Running media through an ultrasonic automated classifier (Kaleidoscope). Uploading hits to WildTrax for verification.

Expert verification of tags generated from either human data processing or recognizer hits.

Development, training, testing, deployment, and verification of hits and performance of a single-species machine learning developed recognizer.

Creation of a high-quality online report including reproducible code and analysis.

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Booking cycles for 2024–25

Data cycle schedules help us provide you high-quality data in line with your expectations. Depending on the size and timing of your request, certain services may progress over multiple cycles.

Processing CycleData Intake DeadlineProcessing Completion Date
April–MayApril 5, 2024May 31, 2024
June–JulyJune 7, 2024July 31, 2024
August–SeptemberAugust 9, 2024September 30, 2024
October–NovemberOctober 8, 2024November 30, 2024
December–JanuaryDecember 9, 2024January 31, 2025
February–MarchFebruary 7, 2025March 31, 2025

common questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about our acoustic services.

If you don’t see your question answered here, don’t hesitate to reach out and send us a message.

An autonomous recording unit or ARU is a specialized device designed to autonomously capture environmental sounds. Simply put, it is a rugged box with microphones that is programmed to record the environment around it over long periods of time.

ARUs have the capacity to capture sound-producing species across environments. Whether it involves the harmonious melodies of the American Robin, the vernal calls of a toad, or the echolocation signals of a bat, there are makes and models of ARUs equipped to document different groups of species.

Species such as birds, amphibians and bats can all be reliably tracked with sound technology. Understanding species populations, movements, or associated changes to the soundscape are pivotal to the greater understanding of the environment.

Comparing the efficacy of ARUs to point counts requires a nuanced evaluation of research objectives and environmental contexts. While ARUs offer continuous and automated sound recording, point counts introduce confirmation with visual and behavioural observations. The choice depends on the specific research goals and the comprehensiveness of data desired. ARUs offer the ability to easily conduct repeat temporal sampling in a specific location whereas a human observer can visit more places, but potentially only once.

The optimal deployment duration, recording schedules, and placement strategies of ARUs depend on the species under investigation and the research questions at hand. For instance, conducting in-depth analyses of long-term soundscapes needs precise recording schedules for extended periods of time. Conversely, longer consecutive recording sessions or more frequent extended recordings might be essential for tracking individual movements or space use.

Sonic ARUs are designed to capture sound within the audible range of human hearing. They are most commonly used to record birds and other environmental sounds. Ultrasonic ARUs are specialized devices to capture sounds in the ultrasonic frequency range, that is, beyond the range of human hearing. Ultrasonic recorders can help study more cryptic species like bats and rodents.

Humans cannot directly hear ultrasonic sounds. However, ultrasonic sounds can be effectively shifted into audible frequencies by slowing down the playback speed. Scientists usually do not rely on the converted audio to identify species, but instead rely on spectrograms, which are visual representations of the sound.