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Tropical Bioacoustics School 2023
French Guiana


The Nouragues field station.

TBS 2023 took place at the Nouragues field station, in the heart of the rainforest of French Guiana. During the first days at the "Inselberg" station, the students familiarized themselves with the ecological characteristics of the rainforest, focusing on the spatial and temporal dynamics of this environment. Their stay continued at the "Pararé" station, which they reached after a 4-hour walk in the rainforest.


A mix of field projects and lectures.

The Tropical Bioacoustics School is a school in the field. During TBS 2023, students had to conduct 4 field projects (see below). Field observations, construction of experimental designs, sound recordings, sound propagation, playback experiments, and signal analysis were on the program. In the evenings, when they returned from the field, the students attended lectures on various aspects of bioacoustic and ecoacoustic research.


Field project 1. The acoustic network of the screaming piha.

The screaming piha is a perfect model for a bioacoustics study: it sings loudly but is almost invisible. The males organize themselves into "leks" and sing all day, all year round. In this project, TBS students had to record pihas, identify vocal signatures in the song, perform sound progagation experiments and playback experiments to test whether individuals recognize each other by voice.


Field project 2. Sound diversity of frugivore vertebrates in Nutmeg trees.

Understanding biodiversity and its temporal dynamics is a central objective of ecoacoustics. The aim of this project was to set up a sound-recording system to monitor the soundscape associated with nutmeg trees, according to their state of fruiting. Students had to design the sampling plan, program and install the recorders, then analyze the data obtained using dedicated methods.


Field project 3. Acoustic communication in frogs.

The frogs of the rainforest are extraordinarily diverse and participate intensely in its soundscapes. Testing the frogs' ability to locate a sound source through playback experiments was one of the students' objectives. The project also provided an opportunity to make ambient recordings using a surround sound system, and to take biotremological measurements.


Field project 4. Soundscapes of the tropical forest.

Quantifying and qualifying biodiversity through soundscapes has become an inescapable approach. However, designing a sampling strategy, deciding on sensor positioning and analyzing the data are all challenges requiring know-how that TBS students have acquired here.



Sound localization (F.Sèbe)

Hearing in amphibians and reptiles (J.Christensen-Dalsgaard)

Acoustic network of tropical birds (O.Larsen)

Sound propagation in the rainforest (O.Larsen)

Vocal communication in parrots (O.Larsen)

Singing in the rainforest: How do songbirds deal with dense vegetation (N.Mathevon)

Ecoacoustics (J.Sueur)

SoundScapeExplorer software (J.Rouch)

Biotremology (N.Grimault)

Tetrapod underwater hearing (J.Christensen-Dalsgaard)

Ambisonic recording (J.Rouch)

Vocal communication in hippos (N.Grimault)

The voice of the Amazon. Biogeography and evolution of the screaming piha's song (N.Mathevon)

How crocodiles hear the world (N.Mathevon)

The acoustic network of the African striped mouse (N.Mathevon)

Bioacoustics as a tool for social network studies in primates (F.Levréro)


Personal work.

The Tropical Bioacoustics School qualifies students for the Diploma in Tropical Bioacoustics. Students are graded on the basis of their investment throughout the school, a final oral presentation where they have to explain what the TBS benefited them and how it is likely to change their perspective or way of looking at their own research projects. Throughout the days, in addition to their fieldwork and lectures, students train in sound analysis techniques. Between field projects, lectures, personal training, night-time animal-watching tours and shared meals, there's little room for rest!

TBS2023_soundscapeJeremy Rouch
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