Mr Richard Beason

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Research interests

There is an urgent need for effective and efficient technologies suitable for monitoring biodiversity and ecosystem health with which to assess the impacts of anthropogenic activity. Facilitated by recent advances in recording technology, the ability to capture long-term, continuous acoustic data over wide spatial scales has fuelled growing interest in the use of sound as a means of monitoring animal populations and distributions. My research therefore explores the potential of passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) for investigating the effects of different habitat management types on the activity and diversity of bats and birds. PAM is non-invasive, does not require line-of-sight, can be used to monitor a wide variety of species and provides an important historical record of animal acoustic activity.

Specific objectives of my project are: I) to develop and produce an affordable, autonomous recording device suitable for recording of both audible and ultrasonic frequencies; II) to assess the effects of forest understorey invasion by a non-native shrub on different bat species and the consequences of invasive species removal; III) to explore the effects of tree species diversity and tree species composition on bird species richness, and IV) to compare bat and bird communities in different habitat types within a rewilding project on former agricultural land, onto which a varied assemblage of mammalian herbivores has been introduced.

Additional research interests include developing new utilities and methods for visualising and analysing acoustic data, investigating the performance of acoustic indices and promoting the use of PAM as a monitoring tool.

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