Purdue University Graduate School
Francomano_Dissertation_20201209_155930.pdf (7.64 MB)
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Soundscape dynamics in the social-ecological systems of Tierra del Fuego

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posted on 2020-12-14, 23:03 authored by Dante P FrancomanoDante P Francomano

Human society is presently beset by an array of anthropogenic social-ecological crises that threaten the sustainability of the social-ecological systems that sustain our livelihoods. While research alone will not rectify these issues, it can help to answer key questions that must be addressed to develop effective solutions. To address such questions in a cohesive, compelling manner, social-ecological research can be bounded, structured, and distilled through innumerable organizing principles or theoretical frameworks. For this dissertation, I focused on the geographic region of Tierra del Fuego and sought to draw from the array of disciplines and methods that use sound as a lens for biological, ecological, and/or social inquiry. I also endeavored to consider various temporal, spatial, and organizational scales while investigating a selection of topics with a) specific importance in the social-ecological systems of Tierra del Fuego and b) general relevance to global social-ecological challenges. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the dissertation, and Chapter 6 serves as a conclusion.

The objective of Chapter 2, “Biogeographical and analytical implications of temporal variability in geographically diverse soundscapes”, was to provide some guidance to passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) practitioners on how to design appropriate temporal sampling schemes based on the temporal variability of the sounds one wishes to measure and the power and storage limitations of acoustic recorders. We first quantified the temporal variability of several soundscape measurements and compared that variability across sites and times of day. We also simulated a wide range of temporal sampling schemes in order to model their representativeness relative to continuous sampling.

For Chapter 3, “Sentinels for sentinels: passive acoustic and camera trap monitoring of sensitive penguin populations”, we tested the utility of PAM to monitor behavior and abundance of Magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) and southern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) at different spatial and temporal scales. We conducted in situ observations of the acoustic behavior of each species, and we compared acoustic metrics with penguin counts from narrowly focused camera traps and larger-extent observations of colony density.

Chapter 4, “Acoustic monitoring shows invasive beavers (Castor canadensis) increase avian diversity in Tierra del Fuego”, is focused on impacts of the invasive North American beaver (Castor canadensis) on Fuegian bird communities. We sought to determine how bird communities might differ between intact riparian forests, beaver ponds, and beaver meadows created by pond drainage. We conducted PAM and classic avian point counts under each of these conditions across seasons to test for differences between impact conditions and to compare the two methodologies.

For Chapter 5, “Human-nature connection and soundscape perception: insights from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina”, we evaluated the relationship between soundscape perception and nature relatedness by conducting surveys and soliciting responses to soundscape audio prompts. We also examined the potential for any demographic influences on nature relatedness or soundscape perception in the context of local social tensions.


Purdue Doctoral Fellowship

Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund

Purdue Climate Change Research Center

D. Woods Thomas Memorial Fund to Support International Studies

National Science Foundation (BCS 1114945)

Purdue Research Foundation

Office of the Purdue University Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships

Office of the Dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Wildlife Conservation Society


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Forestry and Natural Resources

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Bryan C. Pijanowski

Additional Committee Member 2

Brady S. Hardiman

Additional Committee Member 3

Zhao Ma

Additional Committee Member 4

Andrea N. Raya Rey

Additional Committee Member 5

Alejandro Valenzuela

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