Behaviour 2019
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Use of bioacoustics techniques to study vocal behavior of threatened Southeast Asian vertebrates
Avni S. Bhalla1, Gabriel Bohn1, Amy Kennedy1, Abdul H Ahmad2, Holger Klinck1, Dena J. Clink1. 1Center for Conservation Bioacoustics, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, United States; 2Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

Acoustic signals are central to vertebrate communication and serve a variety of functions related to species recognition, territoriality, and reproduction. Here, we present three case studies where we use bioacoustics techniques to investigate calling behaviors of cryptic and at-risk Southeast Asian animals, namely the Bornean gibbon (Hylobates muelleri), helmeted (Rhinoplax vigil) and rhinoceros hornbills (Buceros rhinoceros), and great argus pheasant (Argusianus argus grayi). We collected data at two sites in Sabah, Malaysia, using autonomous recording units (ARUs). First, we used playback experiments to test how individually distinct call features of Bornean gibbons degrade over distance. Second, we investigated population-level trends of variation in call features of great argus. Third, we investigated temporal and spatial calling patterns of the two species of hornbills. These studies show how bioacoustics techniques can provide insight into the behavior of vocal animals at the individual-, population- and community-levels, as well as provide baseline information related to the behavioral ecology of at-risk populations that can be used to make informed conservation decisions.