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A 10 days immersion into the bioacoustics of the Amazonian rainforest...






Situated in the heart of the rainforest in French Guiana, this unique 10-day field course is an immersive learning experience.


Organized by experts from ENES, the University of Southern Denmark, the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and the Office Français de la Biodiversité.


With a limited enrollment of 12 students, the Tropical Bioacoustics School offers an exclusive opportunity to study bioacoustics in one of the world's most unique and biodiverse environments.


A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

SAVE THE DATES: Nov. 18 - Dec 2, 2023

(dates of the field course: Nov 20-30, but it is necessary to plan to arrive a few days before in Cayenne, and to leave a few days after).

We decline all responsibility if you do not show up on Monday for the helicopter pick-up. The helicopter will not wait for you!
A stay in the Amazon forest is always an adventure. We decline any responsibility if the trips to and from the field stations are modified for reasons beyond our control.


Tuition fees: 3500 € (reduced to 200 € in 2023, thanks to support)


Applications will open soon!

Objective of the course:

The Tropical Bioacoustics School will aim to train people in the bioacoustics diversity that characterizes rainforests, and specifically the Amazonian rainforest. The courses will be organized along 3 axes: 1) understanding bioacoustics communities (nature and function of acoustic signals emitted by animals), 2) understanding the conservation issues of these environments (network analysis, propagation constraints, acoustic niche), 3) training in the use of tools for monitoring acoustic biodiversity (spatio-temporal sampling strategies of acoustic sensors, signal analysis, acoustic biodiversity indices).

Academic positioning: The Tropical Bioacoustics School is a unique program bringing together the skills of Danish and French academics specialized in bioacoustics. The TBS is open to students already engaged in the field of bioacoustics (PhD students, post-docs) and professionals who wish to learn about bioacoustics topics specific to tropical forests. The TBS will lead to a university diploma of the University of Saint-Etienne entitled "Diploma of Tropical Bioacoustics". Any student who passes the exam will be awarded 6 ECTS.XXX I am in the process of seeing with my university if we can make the TBS a degree. XXX


Teaching load and location: The teaching will be done exclusively in the field, at the Nouragues biological Research Stations (French Guyana; The number of teaching hours officially counted will be 80 hours. However, as this is field work, the hours will be totally flexible and particularly demanding (e.g. night work).

Prerequisites for students: The Tropical Bioacoustics School is open to people who have already practiced bioacoustics. Proof of basic knowledge in this field will be required. An excellent physical and mental condition is essential (e.g., ability to walk several hours in the forest with uneven terrain; ability to live in an isolated environment without the possibility of contacting the outside world by telephone; ability to live in a community under spartan conditions - sleeping in hammocks, cold showers, collective meal, day and night work -N.B. it is possible to have vegetarian meals. However, the meals will be prepared by a cook and you must be able to be flexible about the food). A medical certificate of fitness for walking and outdoor life will be required, as well as proof of vaccination against yellow fever. It is also essential to take an anti-malarial medication. In case of severe incapacity to live on the station, the organizing team reserves the right not to accept the person at the departure of Cayenne, or to send the person back to Cayenne by helicopter at its expense.


Teaching team

Nicolas Mathevon, Professor, ENES Bioacoustics Lab, University of St-Etienne, Director of the Bioacoustics Tropical School

Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Pierre-Michel Forget, Professor, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris

Nicolas Grimault, Research Director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Ole Larsen, Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Frédéric Sèbe, Associate Professor & Researcher, ENES Bioacoustics Lab & Office Français de la Biodiversité

Jérôme Sueur, Associate Professor, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris

Nicolas Boyer, technician, ENES Bioacoustics Lab


Monday November 20:

pick-up at the Hotel "La Marmotte" in Cayenne

transfer by helicopter to the field station "Les Nouragues Inselberg" 

Tuesday November 21 to Monday 27:

Lectures, practicals & field projects around the station

Tuesday 28:

Hike to the 2nd field station "Les Nouragues Parare" (6-8 hours of hiking through the forest)

Wednesday 29

day around the field station

Thursday 30

back to Cayenne by pirogue (6-8 hours)

XXXThe part below is to be completed! XXX

The Tropical Bioacoustics School will be a mix between classes, practical work and student-led projects.


Classes will focus on:

- The rainforest ecosystem (PM Forget):

*Season and Climate in a Guiana rainforest

*Forest Types and Mode of Seed Dispersal (diversity of forest habitats ; importance of seed dispersal to explain the diversity inhabiting each habitat)

*How to Evaluate the Health Status of National Parks and Reserves

*Effect of fragmentation and hunting on fruit-eating vertebrate (consequences of perturbances in the study of rainforests and to question the likely trajectories, change and resilience in habitat structure and diversity when seed dispersal is lacking)

- XXX Sound propagation in rainforests ; ecoacoustics ; ... XXX

Practical work topics will be:

XXX measure of song active space in various birds and insects

use of equipments (audiorecorders, sampling strategy for ecoacoustics study)

playback experiments XXX


Projects that can be conducted:

- Comparative sound diversity of frugivores vertebrates in Nutmeg trees during the low-fruit season.

The goal is to compare sounds emitted by animals foraging in the canopy of nutmeg trees that differ in fruit traits, forest habitat and occurrence. It is assumed that tree species with different seed sizes may attract different coteries of frugivores in the study rainforest, i.e. mainly spider monkeys and toucans. At Nouragues, Primates are more likely to visit trees with larger fruits and call for congeners when finding ripe fruit, whereas toucans are likely to visit trees with open smaller fruits. Nonetheless, studies at other sites also showed that nocturnal frugivores, i.e. kinkajou, may be prominent in a forest lacking large primates but not toucans. The use of camera traps in rainforest canopy is increasing, and a tool to describe vertebrate diversity foraging from the ground. Due to the position of the camera traps, many vertebrates may not be captured when they forage on branches at the edge or the tip of the crown, therefore are likely to be underestimated when evaluating their occurrences in fruiting trees. We will use Nutmeg trees (Virola spp, Myristicaceae) that fruit starting in November at the study rainforest to evaluate how eco-acoustic can contribute to monitoring visits and occurrence of fruit-eating vertebrates (diurnal and nocturnal) in tree species (with/out fruit).

- The acoustic network of the screaming piha.

This project will aim to understand the organization of the communication network of the screaming piha Lipaugus vociferans, a bird of the Amazonian forest whose song is famous. The males organize themselves in "leks" and sing throughout the day. Staying at a distance from each other, the males do not see each other and their interactions are based only on acoustics. We will observe the position of the males in the lek, analyze the acoustic structure of their songs and measure their song active space with propagation experiments. Playback experiments will allow us to test whether the males know each other by voice and how they react when the song has been degraded more or less during propagation. It is by combining various approaches (recordings, measure of sound intensity at the source, acoustic analysis of signals, propagation experiments and playback experiments) that we will attempt to unravel the mysteries of the communication network of the Amazon voice.

- XXX.


XXX ideas:

  • Altitudinal gradient (with 5-6 recorders from the station to the top of the inselberg)

  • Forest gradient (along a trail)

  • Soundscapes and different habitats

  • Rain detection

  • Variation of sound frequency in insects depending on the temperature


- bird

- frog

- biodiversity monitoring

- Howler monkey (phenology, localization by triangulation)

- bats


Acoustic antennae (localization of insects ; localization of birds ; frogs)


Biotremology (with frog)


The Tropical Bioacoustics School is financially supported by Labex CEBA, Labex CeLyA and the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Saint-Etienne.

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