On the use of cellular telephony for audio interaction with animals

Dale Joachim, Eben Goodale

Abstract

Playback is an important method of surveying animals, assessing habitats and studying animal communication. However, conventional playback methods require on-site observers and therefore become labour-intensive when covering large areas. Such limitations could be circumvented by the use of cellular telephony, a ubiquitous technology with increasing biological applications. In addressing concerns about the low audio quality of cellular telephones, this paper presents experimental data to show that owls of two species (Strix varia and Megascops asio) respond similarly to calls played through cellular telephones as to calls played through conventional playback technology. In addition, the telephone audio recordings are of sufficient quality to detect most of the two owl species' responses. These findings are a first important step towards large-scale applications where networks of cellular phones conduct real-time monitoring tasks.

Footnotes

  • Present address: Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka.

    • Received July 18, 2007.
    • Accepted August 6, 2007.
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