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Title: Biophony  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Acoustic ecology, Hydroacoustics, Bistatic sonar, Long baseline acoustic positioning system, Sound velocity probe
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Biophony (also known as the niche hypothesis) consists of the Greek prefix, bio, meaning life, and the suffix, phon, meaning sound. It specifically refers to the collective sound that vocalizing non-human animals create in each given environment. The term, which refers to one of three components of the soundscape (the others include geophony [non-biological natural sound] and anthrophony [human-induced noise]), was coined by Dr. Bernie Krause.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] The interrelationship of disciplines informed by natural soundscapes is called soundscape ecology, a further refinement of the older model and term, acoustic ecology.

The study of biophony focuses on the collective impact of all sounds emanating from natural biological origins in a given habitat. The realm of study is focused on the intricate relationships – competitive and/or cooperative – generally between non-human biological sound sources taking into account seasonal variability, weather, and time of day or night, and climate change. It explores new definitions of animal territory as defined by biophony, and addresses changes in density, diversity, and richness of animal populations.

The complete absence of biophony or geophony in a given biome would be expressed as dysphonia (from the Greek meaning the inability to produce a proper collective voice in this case).

The "vocalizations by frequency and time-shifting to compensate for vocal territory occupied by other vocal creatures. Thus each species evolves to establish and maintain its own acoustic bandwidth so that its voice is not masked. For instance, notable examples of clear partitioning and species discrimination can be found in the spectrograms derived from the biophonic recordings made in most uncompromised tropical and subtropical rain forests.

See also


  1. ^ "The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places," Krause 2012, Little Brown
  2. ^ Bernie Krause, "Anatomy of the Soundscape," Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 56, No. 1/2, 2008 January/February
  3. ^
  4. ^ Almo Farina, Soundscape Ecology: Principals, Principles, Patterns, Methods, and Applications (Springer, 2014 edition), 6.
  5. ^ Bernie Krause and Stuart Gage, SEKI Natural Soundscape Vital Signs Pilot Program Report: Testing Biophony as an Indicator of Habitat Fitness and Dynamics, National Park Service (3 February 2003), 2
  6. ^ Bernie Krause, The Sound of a Damaged Habitat, New York Times Sunday Review, Opinion, August 29, 2012
  7. ^ Joe Ferguson, Collaboration: Biophony, an Evolutionary Collaboration, SciArt in America, P. 36 - 42, June, 2015
  8. ^ Bernie Krause, Voices of the Wild, Yale University Press, August, 2015
  9. ^ Jeff Hull, The Noises of Nature, Idea Lab, New York Times Magazine, February 18, 2007

Further reading

  • Sueur, Jérome, Cicada acoustic communication: potential sound partitioning in a multi species community from Mexico (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha: Cicadidae), Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 75, 379-394
  • Bernie Krause, Stuart H. Gage, Wooyeong Joo, Measuring and interpreting the temporal variability in the soundscape at four places in Sequoia National Park, Landscape Ecology, DOI 10.1007/s10980-011-9639-6, Aug. 2011,
  • Bryan C. Pijanowski, Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera, Sarah L. Dumyahn, Almo Farina, Bernie L. Krause, Brian M. Napoletano, Stuart H. Gage, and Nadia Pieretti,Soundscape Ecology: The Science of Sound in the Landscape, BioScience, March, 2011, Vol. 61 No. 3, 203-216
  • Kull, Kalevi 2010. Ecosystems are made of semiosic bonds: Consortia, umwelten, biophony and ecological codes. Biosemiotics 3(3): 347–357.

External links

  • Wild Sanctuary — online database of natural sounds. Created by Dr. Bernie Krause.
  • World Forum For Acoustic Ecology: Soundscape Newsletter Archive
  • An Introduction To Acoustic Ecology
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