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The third African Bioacoustics Community Conference 2022

In 2022 the ABC team made the decision to move back to in-person meetings hosting the third African Bioacoustics Community Conference in the Kruger National Park. The Conference was held from the 2nd to the 7th of October at the Nombolo Mdhluli Conference Centre at Skukuza Rest Camp. This venue was an ideal location for the conference, providing the perfect background - the sounds of the African Bush! 

The conference was held over 4 days with a final 5th day of full-day workshops. The 3rd African Bioacoustics Community Conference was definitely not short on content with 70 presenters (including posters) and 6 plenary speakers, ensuring that the conference program covered a vast range of topics focused on the fascinating field of bioacoustics.

Speaker presentations were not the only content to look forward to with 3 special sessions, morning and evening nature recording walks and a parallel interactive art exhibit that set this year apart.

We are incredibly grateful to all of our volunteers, the speakers that presented, the delegates that attended, and of course all our amazing sponsors! Without then, our conference would not have been as successful!
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Dr Livio Favaro

Researcher at the Università degli Studi di Torino

Plenary TalkDisentangling vocal complexity in banded penguins (Spheniscus spp.): from source-filter theory to species’ conservation


Dr Julie Kern

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of New England

Plenary TalkBioacoustics and behaviour of Africa’s smallest carnivore, the dwarf mongoose.

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Dr Natacha Aguilar de Soto

Research Fellow at the Universidad de La Laguna

Plenary TalkElephants, cheetahs and giraffes of the deep sea: Acoustics unveils niche diversification and vulnerabilities in deep diving whales

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Prof Rohini Balakrishnan

Senior Professor and Chair of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science

Plenary TalkSong, flight and death: communication in the cacophony

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Dr Andrea Ravignani

Research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Plenary TalkThe evolution of rhythm: A comparative approach


Prof Marco Gamba

Associate Professor at the Università di Torino

Plenary TalkThe song of the indris in space and time: what we know and what we (still) do not now!

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Following the huge success of the 2020 special session, the ABC 2022 Conference is planning to have a follow-up session, delving into the Basics of Bioacoustics. Experts in the field of bioacoustics from the University of Southern Denmark shared their knowledge and experience in topics like sound measurement, introduction to playback experiments, and recording equipment.


Prof Magnus Wahlberg

Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark

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Prof Ole Næsbye Larsen

Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern Denmark


Prof Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard

Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark

Expert Panel Session

In this evening session, students were given the opportunity to ask questions of the panel members (made up of bioacoustics experts from around the world), as well as ask advice on common problems, research techniques, avenues of study, and much much more!

Panel Experts:

Nicolas Mathevon
Anna Bastian
Tomasz Osiejuk
Tony Robillard
Kerri Seger

Emmanuel Dufourq

Magnus Wahlberg

Ole Næsbye Larsen

Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard

Listening to the bush

In this special session, Derek Solomon provides some insight into the world of listening for fun. Derek joined us on day 2 of the conference to talk to us about how natural sounds and bioacoustics can be used as an immersive experience in tourism. Through all his "sound safaris", Derek has collected a whole host of soundscape recordings and a lot of experience in identifying animals based on their calls. His talk spoke of the highlights and lowlights of making a business of getting people to slow down and listen.


In his own words, " Sometimes we just need a little help to rediscover the art of listening."


4th October 2022

Hosted by
Paul Howden-Leach, Wildlife Acoustics
Paul Howden-Leach presented an interactive/hands-on workshop looking at recorders from Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter & Echo Meter family (including both acoustic and
ultrasonic recorders) and give potential deployment options to fit in with a variety of standard and non-standard protocols. Case studies were used and attendees' own specific deployment needs were addressed to design the most appropriate schedule for
their needs. Paul also spoke about the power data analysis using Kaleidoscope Lite and Kaleidoscope Pro. This element of the workshop focused on signal extraction, rapid data analysis, auto-identification, and building species classifiers. A Q&A session was held at the end of the theory proving very informative for th
e delegates in attendance.

The Wildlife Acoustics team also provided a practical session on using their devices on the evening of the 4th of October. Delegates were given demo devices to see how they operate, how to navigate the user interface and how to interpret the data they collect.


7th October 2022

Hosted by
Elodie Floriane Mandel-Briefer, University of Southern Denmark

The occurrence, type (overall structure), and acoustic parameters of vocalizations is a great way to assess animal emotions. During this workshop, Elodie Briefer will guide you through the definitions of animal emotions and methods to study them, the evidence for vocal expression of emotions so far, and the best practice to study these expressions. In the afternoon, a practical session will take place where participants will have the opportunity to practice these methods with existing data or their own voice.

7th October 2022
Hosted by
Andy Hill, co-founder of Open Acoustics, and

Ruby Lee, director of electronic design company DesignFab
Andy Hill and Ruby Lee presented a workshop on the ins and outs of their AudioMoth devices. The workshop covered an intro session on AudioMoth and its associated apps, looking at all the different device types (including the MicroMoth and HydroMoth), as well as all the different ways you can configure a device. This was followed by a field recording session using a standard schedule where participants got the opportunity to use field recordings to experiment with some filters using the web app. A second field recording session was focused on making triggered recordings. Participants then explored file sorting and expansion of trigger files using the AudioMoth tools.

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7th October 2022
Hosted by
Simon Elwen, co-director of Sea Search Research and Conservation

Acoustic methods are increasingly being used for long-term monitoring of species presence, assessing ecosystem health using soundscapes, and increasingly in environmental impact assessment baseline studies. This workshop aims to discuss current projects and methods used, discuss baseline standards and tools and highlight challenges in this developing space.




3rd & 4th October 2022

Sound Session l & ll

In collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark, Professor Walhberg and his team hosted two sound recording sessions aimed at student delegates. Recording devices were used to collect sound and show how playback experiments can be used to study specific species. Students loved the session dedicated to frogs and learnt a lot on the power and usefulness of bioacoustics research in specific species.

5th October 2022

Movie Night

As part of the African Bioacoustics Community 2022 Conference programme, a Short Movie Event was organised to showcase bioacoustics in action starring our conference delegates! We received many submissions of bioacoustics in action, premiering them on the evening of Wednesday the 5th October 2022 from 18:00 to 20:00 SAST.

Gathering in the main conference venue armed with beverages and popcorn, our delegates enjoyed movies, short videos, and sound bites from bioacoustic research all over Africa. There was laughter and awe and inspiration as we stepped into the shoes of our colleagues and got a glimpse of the wonderful work being done in this field of science.

Conference banquet

7th October 2022

Final Night Shindig!


We at the African Bioacoustics Community believe in balancing work and play and the Conference Banquet was aimed at just that. This was an opportunity for delegates to network, meet others that had not been able to yet, and solidify friendships and plans for future collaboration. And the traditional South African style boma braai in the Skukuza Rest Camp was the perfect setting. With welcoming fires burning around the outside eating area, delicious food catering to all tastes and beverages galore, there was a festive air of collaboration and friendship as we closed out our conference in the best way possible.


Creative event

Throughout the conference, a creative space was made available to all delegates. In this space, lovingly curated and facilitated by CareCreative and Nathalia Serpa, delegates had an opportunity to express their creative side.


The intention of this space was to balance the scientific and creative minds of our delegates, giving them a space to process the knowledge that they had been exposed to in the presentations in a different way. Everybody sees the world in different ways and we hoped that this space would allow people to explore a side of science and science communication that they haven't before.

The session was a constant installation in the lobby of the conference venue, open an available to anyone at any time. Different stations were available to delegates, from sculpture to sketching to crafts.

It was a unique experience that our delegates thoroughly enjoyed!



We were very grateful to our student sponsors, the Acoustical Society of America and The Company of Biologists, who collectively provided support for 10 students to attend our conference in person!


Here are some testimonials from two of our sponsored students:

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Destiny Kwabla Amenyedzi

PhD Candidate - University of Rwanda

"I must say the conference came at the time I needed it most.  The presentations during the conference opened up my understanding with respect to what goes into acoustic monitoring since I had no background in the area.  I now understand papers when I read them rather than before the conference. ... I am grateful for the experience since this conference has given me the potential to conduct better research in bioacoustic monitoring.  I hope and trust that the next event will see me sharing papers from my research."

Moses Chisanu Samalani

MSc Student - Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

"For me, the conference was a timely eye-opener; having been placed a few months before completion of a Masters program that I have been pursuing. What I enjoyed the most was the free, welcoming, and friendly environment created at the conference, through which I was able to interact with almost everyone (young or old, students or non-students). I appreciated the opportunity to meet authors of papers that I had been reading previously. The conference has inspired in me a drive for more research in my home country. My network is now greater than it used to be and I hope to nurture any new friendships from the conference. A million thanks to the ABC team and their collaborators for sponsoring my participation at the conference. I am confident that your investment in me will bear the desired fruit with time."


Thandiswa Maduna

MSc Studen t  - University of KwaZulu Natal

"... attending the conference was such a perfect introduction to Bioacoustics as I was starting my Masters journey. I learnt a lot, especially about the applications of acoustics in biology. The highlight was the workshop, I attended the audio moth workshop, and knowing how to use them made field work so much better. Last but not least, I met amazing people, and some of them I am still in contact with and are helping me with my research. The whole experience made me realise that I am part of a research field/community that is way bigger than me but with so many possibilities. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been sponsored to attend such an event."


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