Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.19
Liaison John Pumilio
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colgate University
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 John Pumilio
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Soundscape Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

An ecosystem is characterized by a number of geographic and biological factors, but often overlooked is the role of sound in an ecosystem. Soundscape ecology is the study of the acoustic component of an ecosystem, which is made up of three types of sound: natural sound generated by living organisms (biophony), natural sound not generated by living organisms (geophony), and sound generated by humans (anthrophony). These sounds, their sources, and their interactions can often reveal important information about the environment. As Colgate University expands spatially with new buildings and temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, soundscapes can tell us how these changes impact the levels of biodiversity and abundance in the forested land surrounding the campus. Thus, by recording and analyzing the soundscapes of Colgate University’s forests, we can measure the health of this land and track changes that occur over time. While many organisms can be heard in these soundscape recordings, the most acoustically prominent are migratory songbirds that reside in the forests during the summer. As a result, we collected recordings with the intention of focusing on the vocalisations of birds.  We used microphones to gather soundscape recordings from specific locations in the forests surrounding Colgate University at dawn and dusk, the times of the day when birds are most vocal. Using the statistical software R, we computed indices for measuring biodiversity and the levels of anthropogenic disturbance within the forest. We found that as temperatures rose across the summer season, the levels of bioacoustic activity decreased within each recording. Implications of rising temperatures due to climate change may further silence these ecosystems.

This summer was the first year that faculty, staff, and student researchers recorded the soundscape of the Colgate Forest. This is a longitudinal study that will take for an indefinite amount of time.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Research
Air & Climate
Grounds

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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