Thematic Thrusts


The Center for Global Soundscapes has focused on several thrust areas of discovery. These include:

Thrust 1: Biodiversity Assessments using Passive Acoustic Monitoring. We have been one of the global leaders in developing tools and research methods to determine how biodiversity is changing due to habitat alteration, climate change, and introduction of invasive species. These studies have focused on understanding common stressors to ecosystems based on their typical ecosystem services that they provide. Example research projects have included: (1) how livestock grazing impacts biodiversity of grasslands in Mongolia; (2) impacts of invasive sea urchins on the animal marine biodiversity of kelp forests in the Channel Islands of California; (3) relationships between acoustic diversity and complexity in old growth and secondary neotropical rainforests; (4) affects of wildfire on habitat recovery in the Sonoran Desert.

Example publications:

Gottesman, B.L., Sprague, J., Kushner, D.J., Bellisario, K., Savage, D., McKenna, M.F., Conlin, D.L., DiDonato, E., Barkaszi, M.J., Halvorsen, M.B. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2020. Soundscapes indicate kelp forest condition. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 654, pp.35-52.

Francomano, D., Gottesman, B.L. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2021. Biogeographical and analytical implications of temporal variability in geographically diverse soundscapes. Ecological Indicators, 121, p.106794.

Gottesman, B.L., Francomano, D., Zhao, Z., Bellisario, K., Ghadiri, M., Broadhead, T., Gasc, A. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2020. Acoustic monitoring reveals diversity and surprising dynamics in tropical freshwater soundscapes. Freshwater Biology, 65(1), pp.117-132.

Zhao, Z., Xu, Z.Y., Bellisario, K., Zeng, R.W., Li, N., Zhou, W.Y. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2019. How well do acoustic indices measure biodiversity? Computational experiments to determine effect of sound unit shape, vocalization intensity, and frequency of vocalization occurrence on performance of acoustic indices. Ecological Indicators, 107, p.105588.

Thrust 2: Knowledge and Policy Perspectives in Soundscape Ecology Research. Members of CGS are eager to advance theory and conceptual frameworks that illustrate how information from a variety of disciplines can be integrated with a specific desirable outcome. These include the development of perspectives and “call to action” articles.

Example publications:

Pijanowski, B.C., Villanueva-Rivera, L.J., Dumyahn, S.L., Farina, A., Krause, B.L., Napoletano, B.M., Gage, S.H. and Pieretti, N., 2011. Soundscape ecology: the science of sound in the landscape. BioScience, 61(3), pp.203-216.

Dumyahn, S.L. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2011. Soundscape conservation. Landscape ecology, 26, pp.1327-1344.

Smith, J.W. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2014. Human and policy dimensions of soundscape ecology. Global Environmental Change, 28, pp.63-74.

Gasc, A., Francomano, D., Dunning, J.B. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2017. Future directions for soundscape ecology: The importance of ornithological contributions. The Auk: Ornithological Advances, 134(1), pp.215-228.

Dumyahn, S.L. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2011. Beyond noise mitigation: managing soundscapes as common-pool resources. Landscape ecology, 26, pp.1311-1326.

Lomolino, M.V. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2021. Sonoric geography–addressing the silence of biogeography. Frontiers of biogeography, 13(1).

Deichmann, J.L., Acevedo‐Charry, O., Barclay, L., Burivalova, Z., Campos‐Cerqueira, M., d’Horta, F., Game, E.T., Gottesman, B.L., Hart, P.J., Kalan, A.K. and Linke, S., 2018. It’s time to listen: there is much to be learned from the sounds of tropical ecosystems. Biotropica, 50(5), pp.713-718.

Dr. Pijanowski and a researcher examining a recording device in Arizona.
Arizona mountain landscape
Dr. Pijanowski and a researcher in Arizona.

Thrust 3: Fusing Sonic and Silent Remote Sensing Data for Animal Population Assessments. We have embarked on several research projects that have focused on (1) how acoustic sensors and camera traps can be used to assess penguin population dynamics in southern Argentina; (2) how timelapse photography can be integrated with long-term soundscape recordings in areas supporting large populations of migrating waterflow, such as cranes, in the Platte River Basin of Nebraska; (3) the use of space-based and drone-based imagery of habitats to map habitat condition, diversity and structural complexity in a variety of forests supporting diverse animal communities.

Example publications:

Pekin, B.K., Jung, J., Villanueva-Rivera, L.J., Pijanowski, B.C. and Ahumada, J.A., 2012. Modeling acoustic diversity using soundscape recordings and LIDAR-derived metrics of vertical forest structure in a neotropical rainforest. Landscape ecology, 27, pp.1513-1522.

Buckley, E.M.B., Caven, A.J., Gottesman, B.L., Harner, M.J., Pijanowski, B.C. and Forsberg, M.L., 2018. Assessing biological and environmental effects of a total solar eclipse with passive multimodal technologies. Ecological Indicators, 95, pp.353-369.

Francomano, D., Raya Rey, A.N., Gottesman, B.L. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2024. Acoustic recording complements camera traps for monitoring sensitive penguin populations. Ibis, 166(1), pp.38-54.

Thrust 4: The role of the soundscape in connecting people with nature. We have had several studies that focus on how people perceive nature and their surrounding environment through sound. Scholars in CGS have focused on the application of nature connectedness and nature relatedness scales based the composition of the soundscape. Current studies involve partnerships with psychologists and neurobiologists to understand how soundscapes from native areas of a person differ in their perceived value to those that are not familiar.

Example publications:

Francomano, D., González, M.I.R., Valenzuela, A.E., Ma, Z., Rey, A.N.R., Anderson, C.B. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2022. Human-nature connection and soundscape perception: Insights from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Journal for Nature Conservation, 65, p.126110.

Recording device protected by a log barrier in Mongolia.
Dr. Pijanowski and researchers in Mongolia.
Researcher in a forest in Mongolia.
Geese flying with a mountain background.

Thrust 5: Knowledge Co-Production and the Role of Soundscapes in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This work, focusing mostly in Mongolia, attempts to understand the role of natural sounds in supporting strong, resilient relationships to the local environment. We use a knowledge co-production approach that involves close partnering with knowledge holders and their desire to co-create outcomes that are valuable to the local community. Part of this effort also involves documenting local songs, spoken poems, stories, and sonic practices (e.g., sounds used to herder livestock) and how these intangible cultural expressions embedded traditional knowledge involving livelihoods and connections of people and the environment.

Example publications:

Post, J.C. and Pijanowski, B.C., 2018. Coupling Scientific and Humanistic Approaches to Address Wicked Environmental Problems of the Twenty-first Century: Collaborating in an Acoustic Community Nexus. MUSICultures, 45(1-2).

Thrust 6: Sound as an Umbrella Concept for STEM Education. We have developed a variety of informal STEM learning resources that are used by middle school teachers and informal learning centers (e.g., summer camps). We have examined how sound in the environment, passive acoustic monitoring and the use of computers can be introduced as an umbrella concept for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education in the middle school years (grades 5-9). Our research has focused on the development of situational interest in STEM careers using a variety of informal activities that focus on listening, use of sensors in natural areas and computers to analyze soundscape data. Our work most often attempts to align learning specific concepts to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Example publications:

Ghadiri Khanaposhtani, M., Liu, C.J., Gottesman, B.L., Shepardson, D. and Pijanowski, B., 2018. Evidence that an informal environmental summer camp can contribute to the construction of the conceptual understanding and situational interest of STEM in middle-school youth. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 8(3), pp.227-249.

Ghadiri, M., Francomano, D., Bellisario, K. and Pijanowski, B., 2018. Promoting STEM Interest and Connections to Nature Through a Soundscape Ecology Camp for Students With Visual Impairments. Connected Science Learning, 1(5), p.12420489.

Pijanowski, B. and Ghadiri, M., 2018. Understanding Nature Through Active Listening. Connected Science Learning, 1(8), 12420517.