Mr Richard Beason

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London NERC PhD student studying soundscape ecology. Also interested in spectroscopy, digital imaging and audio recording technologies, birds, bats, bees, trees, ecology and conservation.

Research interests

Combining bioacoustics with landscape ecology, the emerging field of soundscape ecology views the collective biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic sounds, or soundscape, produced by a landscape as an extension of its character. To avoid direct competition, different species have adapted to use different times and frequencies for sound communication, thus occupying their own acoustic niches. Disturbances in a habitat's physical environment (e.g. anthropogenic intrusion, invasive species, local extinctions) manifest themselves as changes in its acoustic environment, as species shift to occupy different niches or disappear altogether, leaving gaps. Acoustic monitoring is non-invasive, requires no line-of-sight, outperforms traditional species counts and studies have shown soundscape indices can be correlated with biodiversity and habitat structure.

My project explores the use of soundscape ecology as a tool for the characterisation of plant diversity effects on animal diversity in a variety of natural and urban habitats such as (i) mixed species and monoculture forest stands, (ii) areas with varying degrees of rhododendron invasion and (iii) green and conventional urban roofs. Additionally, the feasibility of acoustically monitoring insect pollinator richness will be assessed and the various methods of analysing, visualising and spatially representing soundscape data will be explored and, wherever possible, new approaches conceived.

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