Although real-time acoustic surveys by human observers are the most common and widespread protocol in use for calling amphibian monitoring, new methods have surfaced with technological advancements; most notably automated recording. Automated recording can gather large amounts of survey data with minimal effort. Mobile phone technology has the potential to be used as a tool for calling amphibian monitoring. I conducted a study in 2006 to evaluate mobile phone capabilities in this regard. While conducting standard acoustic surveys of calling amphibians in the field, I made simultaneous recordings using a digital voice recorder and a mobile phone. I listened to the recordings made by both devices in random order as an expert observer, and identified the species as I heard them. Next, I trained volunteers and had them conduct surveys of the recordings as I had done. I found no differences in expert detection errors between recordings made using the digital recorder and those made using a mobile phone. However the same comparison of volunteer detection errors showed that there were significantly more under-detections found in recordings made with the mobile phone, and significantly more over-detections in recordings made using the digital recorder. After upgrading microphones and repeating the study in 2007, I found no differences in total detection errors for either expert or volunteers between recordings made using both devices.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Amphibians--Monitoring; Sound--Recording and reproducing; Cell phones--Evaluation
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Department, Program, or Center
Biomedical Sciences (CHST)
Vaala, David, "The Use of mobile phones for conducting acoustic surveys of calling amphibians" (2010). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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