Project: Passive Acoustics of Shola birds.
Description: Passive acoustic recorders are widely used in bioacoustics research today as they can be used to answer a variety of biological questions. These autonomous recorder units can collect data for extended periods (from days to months) in inaccessible and inhospitable conditions where human observations are difficult. Thus these recorders provide a level of scalability that is otherwise extremely difficult.
We use these autonomous recorders units (ARU) to examine the avian diversity in the Shola Sky Islands of the Western Ghats. The montane cloud forests or the Shola forests are found in the high elevation (above 1400m elevation) of the Western Ghats, and is a unique landscape. These habitats host several threatened and endemic species. Coincidentally, the Shola forest is a very dense and dark environment which makes visually locating species difficult, and most detections of birds are aural. In recent years, around 60% of the landscape has been modified due to anthropogenic pressure, habitat degradation, and invasive species. We use ARUs to understand the current status of some of the threatened avian species in this landscape. Our current deployments allow us to examine bird presence over several months at a time.
Study site: Shola Sky Islands of Palani hills.
Funding: SERB, National Geographic Society, IISER Tirupati
Collaborators: Holger Klinck Cornell Lab of Ornithology.