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Sensor network for bat detection

Scientific background

Acoustic monitoring is a powerful technique for learning about the ecology of bats. Bat recorders provide continuous registration of bat activity by recording echolocation calls of passing bats. Since the bat calls are highly reliable taxonomic features, the acquired data can be used to estimate diversity and relative abundance of the occurring species.

The generated data provides a basis for ecological and behavioral research of the bat species occurring in our coastal and marine areas.

   
Oscillogram of recording at Marine Station Ostend (March 2014)   Full spectrum sonogram of bat echolocation calls Common pipistrelle   Common pipistrelle [Pipistrellus pipistrellus (Schreber, 1774)] (Source: Wikipedia, Photo by: Mnolf)

Infrastructure

Currently four ecoObs BatCorders are installed (see map below for the BatCorder locations):

  • A standard BatCorder at the premises of the Marine Station Ostend (MSO), near the dunes of the right bank of the Ostend harbor entrance (installed in March 2014).
  • A standard BatCorder on one of the C-power wind turbines (I5) (installed in October 2014) (also a web cam and WIFI device were installed here).
  • A GSM-BatCorder attached to a bird observation hut in the nature reserve 't Zwin.
  • A GSM-BatCorder installed on the railing of the lighthouse in Nieuwpoort, in the estuary of the Ijzer river.

The installed BatCorders are measuring continuously, and recordings are stored in a database. In 2018 a real time data connection will be established. Powering of the devices is done using batteries and solar panels.

The omnidirectional BatCorder (ecoObs) records sound with a sampling rate of 500 kHz at 16 bit in the frequency range of 16 – 150 kHz. These full spectrum recordings are analyzed using software algorithms (BatIdent) that classify the calls according to the bat species, genus or higher taxonomic group that produced the calls. Afterwards the data are manually validated.

 

   
BatCorder at MSO (orange dot)   BatCorder system (schematic) (Source: ecoObs)   BatCorder locations

 

More images about the BatCorders can be found in the media gallery.