Bioacoustic methods have the potential to contribute considerably to animal welfare and conservation by means of the information contained in animal sounds. Since animal welfare is especially important in zoos, bioacoustic studies offer the opportunity to non-invasively collect data regarding emotional state, sex, subspecies, reproductive status, social status, and stress levels. In the field of ecology and conservation, bioacoustic methods are used, for example, to monitor populations, estimate population densities, or estimate species diversity.
To fully exploit the potential of bioacoustic methods, it is necessary to conduct basic research to understand communication and the meaning of vocalizations. Zoos provide excellent conditions for conducting bioacoustic studies because they keep a relatively large variety of different species with natural behavioural repertoire.
Software tools specially developed in the research group are used for bioacoustic analysis. These software tools allow detailed feature extraction, clustering of different vocalizations, and accurate estimation of the position of the vocalizing animal.
These tools will help decipher the vocal repertoire of primarily endangered species and identify the meaning of specific calls. In this way, important contributions can be made regarding the welfare and conservation of the animals.