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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 575:207-215 (2017)  -  DOI:

Bioacoustic measurements complement visual biodiversity surveys: preliminary evidence from four shallow marine habitats

Erica Staaterman1,2,*, Matthew B. Ogburn1,2, Andrew H. Altieri1,3, Simon J. Brandl1,2, Ross Whippo1,2, Janina Seemann1,3, Michael Goodison1,2, J. Emmett Duffy1,2

1Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, MRC 106, Washington, DC 20013, USA
2Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 20137, USA
3Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Balboa, Ancon, Republic of Panama
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: New tools, such as passive acoustic monitoring, can be helpful for measuring levels of biodiversity in habitats that are otherwise difficult to sample. Here, we tested the utility of acoustic measurements in shallow coastal waters by conducting short-term simultaneous bioacoustic and biodiversity surveys in 4 habitat types on the Caribbean coast of Panama: mangrove, reef, seagrass, and sand. Acoustic measurements in the ‘low band’ (<1000 Hz) were positively correlated with cryptic fish richness and abundance, but this band was dominated by the calls of a single species, the Bocon toadfish. Toadfish calls masked other fish sounds and confounded results from recently developed eco-acoustic indices such as acoustic entropy and acoustic complexity. The ‘high band’ (3000-10000 Hz), largely indicative of snapping-shrimp sound production, did not differ significantly across habitat types and was not correlated to biodiversity measurements. Our study demonstrates that bioacoustic surveys can help scientists detect certain cryptic, soniferous species, justifying their use in tandem with traditional biodiversity surveys. Additional research is needed in the marine environment to validate the utility of newer eco-acoustic indices.

KEY WORDS: Bioacoustics · Biodiversity · Species richness · Marine habitats · Toadfish

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Cite this article as: Staaterman E, Ogburn MB, Altieri AH, Brandl SJ and others (2017) Bioacoustic measurements complement visual biodiversity surveys: preliminary evidence from four shallow marine habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 575:207-215.

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