New article online: The effects of continuously acoustical stress on cortisol in milkfish

The effects of continuously acoustical stress on cortisol in milkfish (Chanos Chanos)

General and Comparative Endocrinology (2017)

Chih An Wei, Yi-Ta Shao*
Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University

Tzu-Hao Lin
Research Center for Information Technology Innovation, Academia Sinica

Ruo Dong Chen
Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica

Yung-Che Tseng
Marine Research Station, Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica

Strong underwater acoustic noise has been known that may cause hearing loss and actual stress in teleost. However, the long-term physiological effects of relatively quiet but continuously noise on fish were less understood. In present study, milkfish, Chanos chanos, were exposed to the simulated-wind farm noise either quiet (109 dB re 1 μPa / 125.4 Hz; approx. 10-100m distant from the wind farm) or noisy (138 dB re 1 μPa / 125.4 Hz; nearby the wind farm) conditions for 24 hr, 3 days and 1 week. Comparing to the control group (80 dB re 1 μPa / 125.4 Hz), the fish exposed to noisy conditions had higher plasma cortisol levels in the first 24 hr. However, the cortisol levels of 24 hr spot returned to the resting levels quickly. The fish exposed under noisy condition had significantly higher head kidney star (steroidogenic acute regulatory) and hsd11b2 (11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2) mRNA levels at the following treatment time points. In addition, noise exposure did not change hypothalamus crh (Corticotropin-releasing hormone) mRNA levels in this experiment. The results implied that the weak but continuously noise was a potential stressor to fish, but the impacts may be various depending on the sound levels and exposure time. Furthermore, this study showed that the continuous noise may up-regulate the genes that are related to cortisol synthesis and possibly make the fish more sensitive to ambient stressors, which may influence the energy allocation appearance in long-term exposures.

New article online: Improving biodiversity assessment via unsupervised separation of biological sounds from long-duration recordings

Our new article has been published on Scientific Reports! In this article, we introduce a novel machine learning tool, the periodicity coded nonnegative matrix factorization (PC-NMF). The PC-NMF can separate biological sounds from a noisy long-term spectrogram in an unsupervised approach, therefore, it is a great tool for evaluating the dynamics of soundscape and facilitating the soundscape-based biodiversity assessment.

You can download the MATLAB codes of PC-NMF and test data in the supplementary dataset of our article.

Improving biodiversity assessment via unsupervised separation of biological sounds from long-duration recordings

Scientific Reports 7, 4547 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04790-7

Tzu-Hao Lin, Yu Tsao
Research Center for Information Technology Innovation, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Shih-Hua Fang
Department of Electrical Engineering, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Investigating the dynamics of biodiversity via passive acoustic monitoring is a challenging task, owing to the difficulty of identifying different animal vocalizations. Several indices have been proposed to measure acoustic complexity and to predict biodiversity. Although these indices perform well under low-noise conditions, they may be biased when environmental and anthropogenic noises are involved. In this paper, we propose a periodicity coded non-negative matrix factorization (PC-NMF) for separating different sound sources from a spectrogram of long-term recordings. The PC-NMF first decomposes a spectrogram into two matrices: spectral basis matrix and encoding matrix. Next, on the basis of the periodicity of the encoding information, the spectral bases belonging to the same source are grouped together. Finally, distinct sources are reconstructed on the basis of the cluster of the basis matrix and the corresponding encoding information, and the noise components are then removed to facilitate more accurate monitoring of biological sounds. Our results show that the PC-NMF precisely enhances biological choruses, effectively suppressing environmental and anthropogenic noises in marine and terrestrial recordings without a need for training data. The results may improve behaviour assessment of calling animals and facilitate the investigation of the interactions between different sound sources within an ecosystem.


International Symposium on Grids & Clouds 2017

2017/3/5-10 @ Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Listening to the ecosystem: the integration of machine learning and a long-term soundscape monitoring network

Tzu-Hao Lin, Yu Tsao
Research Center for Information Technology Innovation, Academia Sinica

Yu-Huang Wang
Taiwan Biodiversity Information Facility, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica

Han-Wei Yen
Academia Sinica Grid Computing

Information on the variability of environment and biodiversity is essential for conservation management. In recent years, soundscape monitoring has been proposed as a new approach to assess the dynamics of biodiversity. Soundscape is the collection of biological sound, environmental sound, and anthropogenic noise, which provide us the essential information regarding the nature environment, behavior of calling animals, and human activities. The recent developments of recording networks facilitate the field surveys in remote forests and deep marine environments. However, analysis of big acoustic data is still a challenging task due to the lack of sufficient database to recognize various animal vocalizations. Therefore, we have developed three tools for analyzing and visualizing soundscape data: (1) long-term spectrogram viewer, (2) biological chorus detector, (3) soundscape event classifier. The long-term spectrogram viewer helps users to visualize weeks or months of recordings and evaluate the dynamics of soundscape. The biological chorus detector can automatically recognize the biological chorus without any sound template. We can separate the biological chorus and non-biological noise from a long-term spectrogram and unsupervised identify various biological events by using the soundscape event classifier. We have applied these tools on terrestrial and marine recordings collected in Taiwan to investigate the variability of environment and biodiversity. In the future, we will integrate these tools with the Asian Soundscape monitoring network. Through the open data of soundscape, we hope to provide ecological researcher and citizens an interactive platform to study the dynamics of ecosystem and the interactions among acoustic environment, biodiversity, and human activities.

5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan

2016/11/28-12/2 @ Honolulu, USA

Acoustic response of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins to the variability of marine soundscape

Tzu-Hao Lin, Yu Tsao
Research Center for Information Technology Innovation, Academia Sinica

Shih-Hau Fang
Department of Electrical Engineering, Yuan Ze University

Chih-Kai Yang, Lien-Siang Chou
Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

Marine mammals can adjust their vocal behaviors when they encounter anthropogenic noise. The acoustic divergence among different populations has also been considered as the effect of ambient noise. The recent studies discover that the marine soundscape is highly dynamic; however, it remains unclear how marine mammals alter their vocal behaviors under various acoustic environments. In this study, autonomous sound recorders were deployed in western Taiwan waters between 2012 and 2015. Soundscape scenes were unsupervised classified according to acoustic features measured in each 5 min interval. Non-negative matrix factorization was used to separate different scenes and to inverse the temporal occurrence of each soundscape scene. Echolocation clicks and whistles of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, which represent the only marine mammal species occurred in the study area, were automatically detected and analyzed. The preliminary result indicates the soundscape scenes dominated by biological sounds are correlated with the acoustic detection rate of humpback dolphins. Besides, the dolphin whistles are much complex when the prey associated scene is prominent in the local soundscape. In the future, the soundscape information may be used to predict the occurrence and habitat use of marine mammals.

Oceanoise Asia 2016


Characterization of the marine soundscape at the core habitat of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins

Tzu-Hao Lin, Lien-Siang Chou
Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

Shane Guan
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD, USA

The soundscape in shallow waters displays a high level of spatial variation due to the difference in ocean environments, biological communities, and human activities. Many marine animals rely on sound for orientation; therefore, the soundscape has been hypothesized as one of the environmental indicators for marine animals. The population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in western Taiwan waters is critically endangered. The anthropogenic noise might alter the marine soundscape evidently. However, the importance of soundscape for the habitat selection of cetacean remains unclear until now. In this study, underwater recorders were deployed in inshore waters to compare the difference of soundscape between the core habitat and non-core habitat of humpback dolphins. The result indicates that the composition of soundscape scene is different among our recording stations. At the core habitat, soundscape was characterized by the nighttime chorus of croakers and the quiet ambient sound in the daytime. On the contrary, snapping shrimp sounds represent the most dominated sound at the non-core habitats. The current result indicates that humpback dolphins prefer soundscape dominated by the chorus of their prey resources. The potential impacts of human activities on marine soundscape should be carefully evaluated in the future.

International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation of Marine Ecosystems 2015 @ Hong Kong

1-4 June 2015

Seasonal changes in habitat use of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins at an estuary

Tzu-Hao Lin, Chia-Yun Lee, Lien-Siang Chou

Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

Tomonari Akamatsu

National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency

River estuaries are ecotone environments where freshwater and seawater mix together. Seasonal rainfall is likely to influence the salinity, turbidity, and development of estuarine fronts, thus alter the distribution of aquatic animals at an estuary. Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is a coastal species that use estuaries as their core habitat. According to previous studies, the distribution of humpback dolphins in their estuarine habitat moved seaward during wet seasons. In addition, circling movement associated with the hunt for epipelagic fish increased during flooding tides. However, it remains unclear how seasonal rainfall influences the estuarine habitat use of humpback dolphins. During July 2009 and October 2014, acoustic data loggers were deployed at the Xin Huwei River estuary, Taiwan to record ultrasonic pulsed sounds. Biosonar clicks of humpback dolphins were detected using an automatic detection algorithm. The temporal variations of humpback dolphin behavior were investigated in terms of detection rate, occurrence pattern within the tidal cycle, echolocation behavior. The behavior of humpback dolphins significantly varied among the four monitoring sections and two periods (wet and dry seasons). The tide related occurrence was evident at the entire monitoring area during wet seasons, however, the similar occurrence pattern was only observed at the inner and outer estuary during dry seasons. In addition, long distance biosonars were much frequently detected at the inshore and offshore sections. During drought periods, the inshore and offshore sections are less likely to be influenced by the mixtures between freshwater and seawater. Our results suggest the river runoff may play an important factor in shaping the estuarine habitat use of humpback dolphins. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the interception of river runoff in the conservation management of humpback dolphins in an estuarine habitat.

OCEANOISE 2015 @ Barcelona, Spain


Spatial and temporal variations of biological sound in a shallow marine environment

Tzu-Hao Lin, Lien-Siang Chou

Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Republic of China (Taiwan)

Shane Guan

Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, USA

The shallow marine environment exhibits different soundscape characteristics compared to that from the deep ocean. In the shallow waters, biological sound plays an important role in local soundscape. Biological sounds such as fish calls and cetacean whistles are used for communication and finding mates. In addition, odontocetes also use high-frequency biosonars to search their prey. Thus, study the spatial and temporal variations of biological sounds can help us examine the behavior and habitat use of soniferous marine animals. In shallow waters of western Taiwan, most of the biological sounds are produced by snapping shrimps, croakers, and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Shallow and coastal waters are highly influenced by tidal currents, seasonal change of river runoff, and temperature. Due to the difficulty of marine ecological research using visual-based surveys in turbid waters, the temporal and spatial variations of biological activities remain unclear. In this study, underwater sound recorders, SM2M and SM2+, were used to collect long-term acoustic data. Among biological sounds, croaker chorus was identified according to the daily change of sound pressure levels within the 0.5-2.5 kHz frequency band, and whistles and echolocation clicks of humpback dolphins were detected using the local-max detector and high frequency click detector, respectively. Croaker choruses and dolphin vocalizations were frequently detected at inshore and estuarine stations during wet seasons (from April to September). Croaker choruses were evident during the nighttime, especially after sunset. Humpback dolphins were primary detected after the midnight until the next morning. During dry seasons (from October to March), the durations of croaker chorus were reduced. There were no evident differences among inshore and offshore stations. The detection rates of humpback dolphins in the estuarine station were lower compared the detection rates in wet seasons. The temporal and spatial variations of croaker chorus and dolphin vocalizations indicate that the distribution and behavior of croakers and humpback dolphins changed between wet and dry seasons. Several offshore wind farms have been planned to be built in western Taiwan waters. The construction and operation noise of these wind farms may alter the acoustic environment and influence the behavior and habitat use of marine animals. Current results can be used to evaluate the potential impacts of offshore wind farms on the local ecosystem.