The hardware of the ARBIMON system
The recently-discovered plains coqui (Eleutherodactylus juanariveroi) (Photo: CoquiPR)
(Photo: Songquan Deng/Shutterstock)
Howler monkeys are among the species the researchers used to train the system (Photo: Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock)
The tropical ecosystems of Costa Rica and Puerto Rico have ears, and have done for some time. These recording stations were put together with iPods and car batteries which each record 144 60-second recordings every day, and transmit them to a web-enabled base station up to 40 km (25 miles) away. From there they're uploaded to a web app with which biologists train a software algorithm to recognize the chirrups, squeaks and caterwauls of the forest's birds, monkeys, frogs and other fauna. It's all in the name of documenting wildlife, to better understand the effects of deforestation and climate change. And according to scientists at the University of Puerto Rico, it sure beats putting boots on the ground.
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