Meet the researcher – Richard Beason

Dear all,

One of the Ecologist’s Diary bloggers had to unfortunately leave us. In Richard Beason we, however, have found a very worthy replacement. Richard will join the team which now consists of himself, Tracy, Gesche, and Rob. I hope you will continue reading their blogs, and give Richard a warm welcome. Below is a little introduction about Richard and his writing plans; looking forward to his posts.


RB blogger pic smallHi, I’m Richard Beason, a PhD student with the London NERC DTP, based at Royal Holloway University of London, UK. My research project is based on using acoustic monitoring to characterise the effect different forestry and park management practices have on animal diversity and activity. Basically, I record all the sounds made in the audible and ultrasonic frequency ranges and then analyse them to find out which vocalising species are present and how much time they’re spending in each location.

As my previous studies were focused on environment and geography, I initially planned to study remote sensing for my PhD until my current supervisor, Prof. Julia Koricheva, introduced me to the field of soundscape ecology after I mentioned being interested in acoustics. Fortunately, the London NERC DTP allows students to design their own projects and the opportunity to combine a long-term interest in sound, as a former musician and sound engineer, with a life-long passion for nature was too good to resist.

Even before starting this subject, I’d often felt that sound in the environment hadn’t received enough attention as it contains all sorts of useful information. Acoustic monitoring is non-intrusive, multi-directional and doesn’t require line of sight so can simultaneously record a wide range of animal species and species groups. Not just birds and bats, but also other mammals, frogs and insects as well as anthropogenic sources of interest such as airplane noise, gunshots and chainsaws. Acoustic recordings additionally provide a permanent record of what a location or species sounds like, something you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever wondered what the rainforests or ancient woodlands sounded like 100+ years ago, or a dodo, or passenger pigeon.

I’ll be sharing some thoughts and experiences related to various aspects of my research and life as a PhD student. As an added incentive, I’ll also be posting some of the more interesting recordings I’ve collected, so watch (and listen to) this space.

Read more Ecologist’s Diary posts here and more posts from Rich here

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