Soundscape ecology: checking in with frogs, birds, and bees

18 July 2017
Participants— Cathy Bevier, Bonje Obua, Kimlie Heng
Brief Description:We spent a quiet foggy day on the island completing several tasks. First, we reviewed data files from recordings made since April, focusing on the periods the sound recorders were placed at the ponds where we sampled green frogs. We made a game plan for analyzing these files and set goals for completing a subset of analyses. Eventually we can try to use frog calling activity as a metric to reflect overall health and size of a population. We then went exploring to areas where I had made recordings in the spring and early summer to hear how the soundscape has changed with the seasons. There were a few male green frogs calling from most of the ponds, though the fog and cool temperatures were not conducive.

Birds are well into the breeding season or have finished, and many shorebirds are already migrating south. So it seemed a bit quieter across the landscapes in terms of bird songs. We spent time in the afternoon observing bee activity in the gardens and tried different methods to record sounds from bumblebees as they visited inflorescences. For example, I placed a sound meter, which has two unidirectional microphones, directly at the base of a flower patch and programmed it to record continuously for two hours. I also tracked and recorded individual bees over for several minutes each as they made their way through a patch of flowers. I’m assessing these methods as I’d like to capture sounds from the different species of bumble bee to see if or how their sounds are different.  I’ll be consulting with Dr. Dave Angelini, who is studying the diversity and microbial communities of bumble bees in areas of Maine, including Allen Island.