• On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we speak with Laurel Symes, a biologist who is using bioacoustics to study tropical katydids in Central America. She is also assistant director of the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University in the United States.
  • Symes’ research is focused on using machine learning to detect and identify tropical katydids via the sounds they produce. Katydids are grasshopper-like insects that are important to the rainforest food web, as they eat alot of plants and are in turn eaten by alot of other species, including birds, bats, monkeys, frogs, and more.
  • Symes is here today to discuss how the study of katydids might benefit tropical forest conservation efforts more broadly, how machine learning is aiding her bioacoustic work, and to plays for us some of the katydid sounds that she’s captured.

On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we speak with Laurel Symes, a biologist who is using bioacoustics to study tropical katydids in Central America.

Listen here:

 

Laurel Symes is assistant director of the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University in the United States. We’ve frequently featured bioacoustic recordings here on the Mongabay Newscast, and it’s not been uncommon for the researchers we spoke with to have used recording equipment designed at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, or to have received support and research assistance from staff at the Lab. So we thought it would be useful to get Symes to start off by telling us a bit about the Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and what it does.

Symes’ own research is currently focused on using machine learning to detect and identify tropical katydids via the sounds they produce. Katydids are grasshopper-like insects that are important to the rainforest food web, as they eat a lot of plants and are in turn eaten by a lot of other species, including birds, bats, monkeys, frogs, and more.

Symes is here today to discuss how the study of katydids might benefit tropical forest conservation efforts more broadly, how machine learning is aiding her bioacoustic work, and to plays for us some of the katydid sounds that she’s captured.

Here’s this episode’s top news:

Phylloptera dimidiata. Photo by Laurel Symes.
Lamprophyllum micans. Photo by Hannah ter Hofstede.
Katydids can be as small as your thumb or as big as your hand — and can weigh as much as a bird, as Symes tells us in this episode of the Mongabay Newscast. Photo by Laurel Symes.

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Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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