Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Counting chirps: acoustic monitoring of cryptic frogs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1.  Global amphibian declines have resulted in a vital need for monitoring programmes that follow population trends. Monitoring using advertisement calls is ideal as choruses are undisturbed during data collection. However, methods currently employed by managers frequently rely on trained observers, and/or do not provide density data on which to base trends.
2.  This study explores the utility of monitoring using acoustic spatially explicit capture-recapture (aSECR) with time of arrival (ToA) and signal strength (SS) as a quantitative monitoring technique to measure call density of a threatened but visually cryptic anuran, the Cape peninsula moss frog Arthroleptella lightfooti.
3.  The relationships between temporal and environmental variables (date, rainfall, temperature) and A. lightfooti call density at three study sites on the Cape peninsula, South Africa were examined. Acoustic data, collected from an array of six microphones over four months during the winter breeding season, provided a time series of call density estimates.
4.  Model selection indicated that call density was primarily associated with seasonality fitted as a quadratic function. Call density peaked mid-breeding season. At the main study site, the lowest recorded mean call density (0·160 calls m-2 min-1) occurred in May and reached its peak mid-July (1·259 calls m-2 min-1). The sites differed in call density, but also the effective sampling area.
5Synthesis and applications.The monitoring technique, acoustic spatially explicit capture–recapture (aSCR), quantitatively estimates call density without disturbing the calling animals or their environment, while time of arrival (ToA) and signal strength (SS) significantly add to the accuracy of call localisation, which in turn increases precision of call density estimates without the need for specialist field staff. This technique appears ideally suited to aid the monitoring of visually cryptic, acoustically active species.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-902
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Dec 2016
StatePublished - Jun 2017

    Research areas

  • Acoustic spatially explicit capture-recapture, Signal strength, Time of arrival, Triangulation, Anurans

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Cluster capture-recapture to account for identification uncertainty on aerial surveys of animal populations

    Stevenson, B., Borchers, D. L. & Fewster, R. 24 Sep 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Biometrics. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Point process models for spatio-temporal distance sampling data from a large-scale survey of blue whales

    Yuan, Y., Bachl, F. E., Lindgren, F., Borchers, D. L., Illian, J. B., Buckland, S. T., Rue, H. & Gerrodette, T. Dec 2017 In : Annals of Applied Statistics. 11, 4, p. 2270-2297

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Guest editors’ introduction to the special issue on “Ecological Statistics”

    Langrock, R. & Borchers, D. L. 1 Oct 2017 In : AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis. 101, 4, p. 345-347 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  4. From distance sampling to spatial capture-recapture

    Borchers, D. L. & Marques, T. A. Oct 2017 In : Advances in Statistical Analysis. 101, 4, p. 475-494 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Open population maximum likelihood spatial capture-recapture

    Glennie, R., Borchers, D. L., Murchie, M., Harmsen, B. & Foster, R. 4 Sep 2017 (Submitted) In : Biometrics. 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Journal of Applied Ecology (Journal)

    Jason Matthiopoulos (Editor)
    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Harbour seals avoid tidal turbine noise: implications for collision risk

    Hastie, G. D., Russell, D. J. F., Lepper, P., Elliott, J., Wilson, B., Benjamins, S. & Thompson, D. Mar 2018 In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 55, 2, p. 684-693 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Marine mammals and sonar: dose-response studies, the risk-disturbance hypothesis and the role of exposure context

    Harris, C. M., Thomas, L., Falcone, E., Hildebrand, J., Houser, D., Kvadsheim, P., Lam, F-P. A., Miller, P., Moretti, D. J., Read, A., Slabbekoorn, H., Southall, B. L., Tyack, P. L., Wartzok, D. & Janik, V. M. Jan 2018 In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 55, 1, p. 396-404

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  3. Seals and shipping: quantifying population risk and individual exposure to vessel noise

    Jones, E. L., Hastie, G. D., Smout, S., Onoufriou, J., Merchant, N. D., Brookes, K. L. & Thompson, D. Dec 2017 In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 54, 6, p. 1930-1940

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 245997147