Project properties

Title Eco-accoustics for nature-positive food production
Group Behavioural Ecology
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Cunha, Filipe
Examiner(s) Cunha, Filipe
Contact info
Begin date 2022/12/01
End date 2023/06/01
Description While ecological farming aims for sustainable production with the least impact on the environment, a natural consequence of that is the presence of pests. A lack of biodiversity in the natural prey of the pests leads to significant farm losses and even chemical interventions. A bio-positive food production system requires a balanced interplay of pest and prey, for a successful production system. However, quantifying the impact of a bio-diverse ecosystem on pest management and farm production is a major challenge in ecological farming systems. The main issue being on the measurement of biodiversity. It is often too time-consuming, too expensive, or both.

In the last decade, automated eco-accoustic surveying has emerged as relevant technology for large-scale monitoring of natural as well as urban habitats. Acoustic recording devices facilitate environment monitoring over lengthy temporal and spatial scales, making acoustic monitoring a relatively economically accessible method compared to traditional surveying and bio-diversity monitoring approaches. The automatization of such systems would yield continuous and inexpensive data, allowing actions to be adjusted on a micro-temporal scale. For that matter machine learning, including deep learning, is being increasingly applied to acoustic data, to automatically identify a range of sounds, from different bird species, to amphibians, grasshoppers and humans.

To make the task of measuring biodiversity in farming systems swifter and more tangible from a producer perspective, we will use eco-accoustic monitoring as a tool to quantify the impact of a bio-diverse ecosystem on pest management, and finally on-farm production, in ecological farming systems.

A biodiverse farming ecosystem must include natural counter-balances against such pests and producers must be able to access this measurement to be able to include it in the production process. A direct intended impact of this project is to design automated systems for acoustic biodiversity monitoring and connect that to farm yield. The aim is to quantify the benefits of a balanced bio-positive system against an imbalanced one.

BSc or MSc students who are interested in joining the fieldwork (or data analyses), please contact the respective spokesperson.
Used skills - fieldwork experience
- ecological surveying
- eco-accoustics
- data assessment and analysis