Landscape Ecology

, 26:1247 | Cite as

Measuring and interpreting the temporal variability in the soundscape at four places in Sequoia National Park

  • Bernie KrauseEmail author
  • Stuart H. Gage
  • Wooyeong Joo
Research Article


The soundscape was recorded in four selected places in Sequoia National Park CA, to quantify and assess the diurnal and seasonal character of the park’s soundscape. The recording sites were selected to represent a combination of elevation and vegetation diversity. Hour-long sound recordings were made by four individuals at each place during fall, spring, summer and winter at dawn, midday, dusk, and midnight with identical recording instrumentation. The recordings of the soundscape were made in an old growth forest (Crescent Meadow), in a foothill oak savanna (Sycamore Spring), in an upland savanna chaparral (Shepherd Saddle) and in a foothill riparian location adjacent to the Kiawah River (Buckeye Flat). Sound recordings were analyzed using a normalized Power Spectral Density (PSD) algorithm and partitioned into 1 kHz intervals based on 12 subsamples from each of the 64 h-long sound recordings. Biological signals (biophony) were based on the highest PSD value within the range of 2–8 kHz. A multilevel analysis (MLA) was used to examine temporal patterns of biophony at four locations in Sequoia National Park. Unsupervised Landsat Thematic Mapper Satellite Imagery identified 25 vegetation regimes in Sequoia National Park. Satellite signatures of the habitat where recordings were made were extracted from the imagery to scale to the region.


Soundscapes Biophony Geophony Anthrophony U. S. National Park Service Sequoia National Park Temporal change 



Rudy Trubitt and Jack Hines provided professional recording expertise and conducted recordings at the selected sites during all seasonal visits. They were also instrumental in processing and archiving acoustic samples. Annie Esperanza was our principal contact at Sequoia National Park and provided significant logistical assistance including recording place selection, laboratory and lodging facilities during recording intervals. Dave Graber, Sequoia National Park Research Superintendent, understood our vision and reason for the study and arranged for recording permits and general access to the Park. Brian Napoletano, a graduate student at Michigan State University, accompanied Gage to the Sequoia National Park on one of the four visits. His MS work focused on quantifying acoustic signals. Susan Wang helped with the classification of the Landsat TM Image used to extrapolate recording places to the park habitats. We thank Steve Friedman for providing important insights and suggestions for improving an earlier version of the manuscript. Finally, we thank Bill Schmidt of the National Park Service for his support, interest and vision. His passing is a significant loss to the NPS and we dedicated this article to him.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wild Sanctuary, IncGlen EllenUSA
  2. 2.Entomology DepartmentMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Center for Global Change & Earth Observations, Remote Environmental Assessment LaboratoryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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