Scientific research

The scientific research of the International Institute of Ecoacoustic has a major focus on the development of ecoacoustics theory and the quantitative assessment of acoustic community patterns. In particular, it realizes research in dawn chorus dynamics [1], in the dynamics of bird acoustic communities in the Mediterranean environment [2], and on the experimentation regarding new metrics in ecoacoustics (e.g., the Acoustic Complexity Index) [3].
Acoustic information is considered an important component of ecological processes. In addition, new indices are developed and tested for quantitative and qualitative assessment. A theoretical aspect has been developed on the relationship between sounds and landscapes and on the spatial structure of the acoustic communities [4]. Sonotopes, soundtopes, sonotones, and acoustic community are the main objects of the theoretical approach [5]. Special attention is devoted to the study of the effect of climate change on the sonic environment and on the acoustic behavior of animals .


  1. [1] 2015 Spatial and temporal variation of bird dawn choruses in a Mediterranean landscape. Bioacoustics (in press).(Farina A, Ceraulo M, Bobryk C, Pieretti N, Lattanzi E)
  2. [2] 2012 Acoustic patterns of an invasive species: the Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea Scopoli 1796) in a Mediterranean maqui. Bioacoustics 22 (3): 175-194 (Farina A., Pieretti N., Morganti N.)
  3. [3] 2011 Avian soundscapes and cognitive landscapes: theory, application and ecological perspectives. Landscape Ecology 26(9):257-1267 (Farina A., Lattanzi E., Malavasi R., Pieretti N., Piccioli L.)
  4. [4] 2013 Soundscape ecology: principles, patterns, methods and applications. Springer Dordrecht. (Farina A.)
  5. [5] 2014 Acoustics community structure and dynamics: a fundamental component of ecoacoustics. In prep. (Farina A., James P.)


The Lunigiana Long-Term Ecoacoustic Monitoring Project

Climate change and change in land use (land abandonment, agriculture intensification, and urban sprawl) are major causes of environmental modification across the Mediterranean landscape. In the next few years, we are expecting deep changes in the distribution and abundance of species. Collecting information about this change is strategic to finding efficient measures to reduce and/or mitigate such impact. This project aims to collect acoustic data about the dynamics of the acoustic communities from selected localities over a long period using Soundscape Explorer [terrestrial] (SET) located along a micro climatic range in the Lunigiana sub-region (northern Tuscany, Italy).
This project started on September 2, 2015, with one device, and it will be completed with five devices permanently collecting acoustic information for one minute of every five minutes, totaling 240 one minute files (wav format) at a sampling frequency of 48kHz, covering the entire day. This results in 512 frequency bins each of 46.875 Hz that are distinguishable. Wav files with a spectral range of 0-24 kHz will be recorded on a 32-GB SD card. Onboard Acoustic Complexity Index (ACI: ACIt and ACIf) (Farina & Morri 2008; Pieretti et al. 2011) process automatically acoustic data. Simultaneously, onboard meteo sensors (humidity, atmospheric pressure, light intensity, temperature, and humidity) will sample the environment. Every 10 days, the processed ACIt and ACIF data are put into the site. Daily ACIt and ACIf data will be permanently stored with the possibility to browse them in any time. The use of the data requires formal written permission by Insteco.


Farina, A., Morri, D., 2008. Source-sink e eco-field: ipotesi ed evidenze sperimentali. Atti del X congresso nazionale della SIEP-IALE. Ecologia e governance del paesaggio: esperienze e prospettive. Bari, 365–372.
Pieretti N., Farina A., Morri D. 2011. A new methodology to infer the singing activity of an avian community: The Acoustic Complexity Index (ACI). Ecological Indicators 11 (3): 868-873.

Technological Solution

Technological Research and Innovative Solution

Soundscape Explorer

The Soundscape Explorer, engineered by Lunilettronik, is an ACI-onboard recorder for terrestrial (SET) and aquatic (SEA) automatic sound recording and real-time Acoustic Complexity Index (ACI) computation. This device has unique characteristics because it is the only machine that records acoustic files while processing such files in real time using the ACI metric.
The Soundscape Explorer is equipped with environmental sensors (humidity, temperature, light, and atmospheric pressure), two microphones (one for low frequencies (up to 48 kHz) and one for higher frequencies (up to 192 kHz)), and two SD card slots that allow storing a maximum of 64 GB of acoustic data. Its enclosure has been designed so to withstand the most severe weather conditions, allowing sound data recording for periods longer than one month.

Software Solutions

SoundscapeMeter, a WaveSurfer plugin

WaveSurfer© is a multiplatform desktop application ( click here to download ) used to visualize and analyze sounds and as a way of applying the SoundscapeMeter plug-in. You can read the manual or download the complete package within the WaveSurfer, SoundscapeMeter plug-in and the user's manual.

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