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Inexpensive Methods for Detecting and Reproducing Substrate-Borne Vibrations: Advantages and Limitations

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Part of the Animal Signals and Communication book series (ANISIGCOM,volume 8)

Abstract

There is increasing appreciation of the role of vibration-mediated interactions among animals, and between animals and plants. However, growth of the field is limited by the widespread assumption that this research requires expensive, specialized equipment for detecting and reproducing vibrations. In this chapter, we demonstrate that this assumption is not entirely justified for plant-borne vibrations. We compare the performance of industry-standard equipment for vibration recording and playback with inexpensive alternatives. For conducting high-fidelity playback experiments, there is no difference in the performance of actuators that vary a thousand-fold in price, as long as the appropriate software is used. For obtaining accurate recordings of plant-borne vibrations, the utility of the low-cost alternative sensors we tested is constrained by their frequency response, which is not flat and which can vary between measurements. These readily available sensors are thus primarily useful for detecting and monitoring vibrational signals, rather than for quantitative description or for conducting playback experiments. However, although inexpensive alternatives do not replace calibrated vibration sensors for quantifying the physical properties of signals, they do open up new possibilities for investigation, such as characterizing natural vibrational soundscapes using many sensors at once.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-97419-0_8
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Acknowledgments

We thank Barb Sonderman for providing plant material for our measurements of playback devices. We thank Ron Miles and Michael Losinger for introducing the authors and the vibrational communication community more generally to the use of LRAs for playbacks. We gratefully acknowledge the help and patience of our editors, Nataša Stritih-Peljhan and Peggy Hill. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation grant IOS-1359593 to HMA and RBC, Oregon State University Postdoctoral Association Professional Development Award to RN, Comisión Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología postdoctoral project 3160356 to CFP, and International Science Programs at Uppsala University project BOL-01 to CFP.

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Correspondence to Rachele Nieri .

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Nieri, R., Michael, S.C.J., Pinto, C.F., Urquizo, O.N., Appel, H.M., Cocroft, R.B. (2022). Inexpensive Methods for Detecting and Reproducing Substrate-Borne Vibrations: Advantages and Limitations. In: Hill, P.S.M., Mazzoni, V., Stritih-Peljhan, N., Virant-Doberlet, M., Wessel, A. (eds) Biotremology: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution. Animal Signals and Communication, vol 8. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97419-0_8

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