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From Baseline Data to Improved Habitat Management - AMIBIO Furthers Biodiversity Conservation in The Hymettus Mountains

AMIBIO AmiBio concept: The AmiBio project constructs and deploys autonomous multi-sensor monitoring stations and automatically analyzes their transmitted meas-urements, for long-term monitoring of biodiversity activity trends in the region of
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  See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/260336845 AMIBIO_Newsletter8_April_2012_final DATASET  · FEBRUARY 2014 READS 31 8 AUTHORS , INCLUDING:Klaus RiedeUniversity of Bonn 128   PUBLICATIONS   393   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Gerlind U C LehmannHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin 66   PUBLICATIONS   463   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Renate ElzenResearch Museum Alexander Koenig 25   PUBLICATIONS   38   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Stavros NtalampirasPolitecnico di Milano 52   PUBLICATIONS   193   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Available from: Gerlind U C LehmannRetrieved on: 03 November 2015    2  A MI  B IO    AmiBio concept  : The AmiBio project constructs and deploys autonomous multi-sensor monitoring stations and automatically analyzes their transmitted meas-urements, for long-term monitoring of biodiversity activity trends in the region of Hymettus, a mountainous area located at the eastern periphery of Athens. The acoustic monitoring stations, which are non-intrusive and cost-effective compared to human expeditions, will assist in systematic seasonal and longitudi-nal long-term environmental monitoring that will allow the automatic inventory and examination of the biological diversity of the study area. The monitoring stations will record audio signals, temperature, humidity, illumi-nation, wind speed and direction and transmit these data to a central station far away from the monitoring region. Special computer software at the central sta-tion, deployed in the premises of the Association for Protection and Develop-ment of Hymettus (SPAY) and in the University of Patras, will then perform auto-matic species identification and statistical analysis, thus contributing to a con-tinuous biodiversity survey of the designated areas. The project team plans to deploy the prototype hardware system in relevant habitats, such as forest, open habitats, and rock cliffs, that will gather and transmit recordings of audio and data on environmental variables to a central station (see Fig. 1). Expected outcomes from the project:  Data repository of audio recordings and database management tools in sup-port of research on bioacoustics and animal behaviour.  Software for automatic recognition of species from their sound emissions.  Prototype of an acoustic monitoring system operating in 24/7 mode.  Estimation of the density of sound-emitting animal populations.  Monitoring of rare and threatened species.  Assessment of the conservation status of the monitored sites.  Monitoring and alarming of specific atypical sound events, such as gunshots, off-road motor bikers, etc.  Monitoring for natural calamity and human induced disasters. At present, the prototype remote monitoring stations and the supporting data-base tools and software for bioacoustic recognition of species are implemented, and the field tests have started - further details are provided on pages 4-7. T HE  A MI B IO  T EAM   Wire Communications Laboratory (WCL) at the University of Patras (UOP, www.wcl.ece.upatras.gr) is the coordi-nator and the main contributor to the AmiBio project, providing the overall framework for acquisition, communication and processing of environmental and bioacoustic information from the target areas at Hymettus. The WCL participates in AmiBio through its Artificial Intel-ligence Group (AIG), which has proven expertise on speech and audio processing and machine learning technologies. The recent technological advances in automatic identification of species and detection of pests from their sound emis-sions, constitute the foundation for the develop-ment of an automated bioacoustics surveillance system in open-air environments, such as those at Hymettus. The Technological Educational Institute of Crete (TEIC, www.teicrete.gr) is mainly involved in the automatic proc-essing of generalized audio signals. As the prob-lem is an emerging one, new techniques need to be developed and tested extensively so as to evaluate the applicability of the proposed tech-nique with respect to biodiversity assessment task. TEIC has established strong collaborative research links with a large number of European and international Universities, research insti-tutes and industrial companies. The Association for the Protection and Development of Hymettus Mountain (SPAY, www.spay.gr) is an association of the 15 municipalities that surround the mountain Hymettus. Its scope is to take action in protecting the mountain forest from fire and other dangers and to coordinate similar actions from the municipalities-members. Since the equilibrium of trees and animals living in the mountain is vital for the survival of the forest, the project is giving SPAY the opportunity to study the animal life on the mountain, in order to advice authorities on future measures for forest protection. The Zoological Research Mu-seum A. Koenig (ZFMK, Bonn, Germany, www.zfmk.de), founded as a private research and exhibition institute by Alexander Koenig (1858-1940), it is one of the major natural history research muse-ums in Germany and a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL). Automated acoustic moni-toring of wild animal species at Hymettus would not be possible without a good knowledge of the biodiversity present there. Species have to be inventoried and recordings of their vocaliza-tions have to be gathered, identified, tagged, and archived in order to calibrate the sound identification software. These tasks are the main responsibilities of ZFMK in the AmiBio project, as the museum has earned its reputation as a leader in the documentation, research, and interpretation of biodiversity. Fig. 1. Schematic representation of the AmiBio concept A UTOMATIC  A COUSTIC  M ONITORING   AND  I NVENTORYING   OF  BIO DIVERSITY   by T. Ganchev, I. Potamitis, O. Jahn, K. Riede, and N. Fakotakis   Concept edited by T. Ganchev and O. Kocsis   7  A MI  B IO   T HE  A MI B IO  D ATABASE : M ANAGEMENT  T OOL  & I NTERFACE   The AmiBio system foresees handling of a huge quantity of data, mostly audio, to be recorded by the monitoring stations and con-tinuously transmitted to the central station for statistical analysis. Handling the Petabytes of data at the central station imposes many requirements with respect to the database functionality and the corresponding manage-ment tools. The preparatory Action A.8 cre-ated a database repository, which will store the species records in a structured manner, and implemented the software tools for semi-automatic annotation of the AmiBio re-cordings and database management (Fig.4). The main purpose of the database manage-ment tool is to provide access to the AmiBio database and repository of the srcinal sound recordings, processed audio signals, and ref-erence recordings, which will facilitate the management of the audio files and related metadata. Within the AmiBio database, three main repositories have been foreseen:  Unidentified sounds: All recordings for which no annotation information exists.  Reference sound library: All recordings which are linked with annotation/metadata information.  Training library: All recordings which are ofired as eellet oes.  All the database management tools are exe-cuted through a web-based interface, which also enables users to annotate selected re-cordings. The manual annotation of the re-cordings is performed using the external standalone, and open source, application Praat (www.praat.org). In Fig.5 a snapshot of the database interface is presented, showing the functionality to browse through the srcinal sound recordings. From this point, experts can navigate to other tables from top menus, can filter the search results and sort them according to their preferences. Furthermore the user may see detailed information in pop-up windows, download wav files for manual annotation or see a spectrogram of the sound file. Special effort was made to design a GUI, which is easy to navigate for all non-technical persons. by C. Tsimpouris, T. Kostoulas, O. Jahn, P. Grobe, and K. Riede   Project progress Fig. 4.  Architectural design of the database management tool Reference SoundLibraryUnidentified SoundsTraining Library  Annotation/Metadata repository Sound Signal Verification Playback ReviseMetadataSeeresults ofAutomaticProcessingConfirm/AnnotateIDSaveSound Signal ReferenceSound Library Management Edit DataEntriesStatisticson theavailablerecordingsPreselecting potentialtraining recordingsEditing oftraining recordings Training Library Edit DataEntriesStatisticson theTraining recordings Automaticprocessing recordings Fig. 5.  Amibio database interface, with a pop-up window showing details of a monitoring station    8  A MI  B IO   H YMETTUS  M OUNTAIN  F IRE  P ROTECTION  M EASURES   AND  SPAY A CTIVITIES   At present, the basic principles of ecology are not taught at school in Greece. People must become aware of these principles. With our actions and examples, the Union for the Protection and Development of Hymettus Mountain (SPAY) awakens awareness and sensitize the public about environmental protection. In this sense, the objectives - actions for the Association are: 1. The cooperation of all municipalities-members, with the aim to protect the forest of Hymettus, the only remaining atmos-pheric lung between the old metropolitan area of Athens and the recent expansion of the city towards the new airport. 2. Reforestation in burned areas and protection of soils against landslides erosion, and flooding, which poses risks for the residential areas, assisting the natural regeneration of vege-tation and enriching the water reserves of the mountain. 3. Mild interventions to regenerate the forest and the region in order to attract visitors at selected points, of forest recrea-tion, for better control and isolation of malicious. 4. Preventive actions for the protection of forest through the clearing of inflammable biomass, pruning, and awareness activities. Furthermore, environmental education of stu-dents, with lectures in schools, students visiting the forest to be informed about the flora and fauna of the Hymettus mountain and, particularly, measures to protect the environ-ment and the forests. The seasonal employment of forest guards helps greatly for the early detection of unfortunate events. 5. Coordinate the activities of voluntary forest protection groups, and assist with the purchasing of equipment and training in their fire-fighting skills, in cooperation with the Fire Brigade. Our fire season starts early, May the 1st every year and ends late, October the 31st. With the onset of the fire season, we invite the member munici-palities, to put in readiness their services and appropriate vehi-cles and to cooperate with local volunteer groups in guarding the relevant forest areas, with the assistance of the seasonal person-nel. Readiness exercises are planned in order to familiarize per-sonnel with the equipment and their cooperation with the vol-unteers and the fire-fighters. The detection and prevention measures in affected areas, such as restriction/prohibition of vehicle circulation, informing of forest visitors and walkers, removing of potential causes that initiated fires on earlier occasions, the regular checking and fill-ing of water tanks, and the maintenance of forest roads are among our initiatives. In our institution we believe that we can protect the environment and especially the forest of Hymettus with development measures. For this purpose, we have studied the conditions at the local level, taking into account the experi-ence of other agencies and we are implementing national and European Union programs, like MEDSPA, Life Environment 525, LIFE AmiBio, LIFE Forest Cities, INTERREG EUROFINET, within a larger protection plan. by N. Hardalias, V. Nomikos, B. Dimitriou, and F. Celhay   Photo 2: SPAY team coordinating rubbish collection activities Editorial Photo 3: Rescue exercise by volunteers Cover photos: Hymettus Mountain biodiversity; by A. Weller, ZFMK. Photo 4: Mayor N. Hardalias, president of SPAY, with volunteers at Ergani reforestration site LIFE+ N   ATURE     AND  B IODIVERSITY    8th Issue April 2012 Ami Bio    NEWSLETTER Contact Us Nikos Fakotakis, Project Coordinator   Wire Communications Laboratory, University of Patras, 26500 Rion-Patras, Greece E-mail: fakotaki@upatras.gr Phone: +30 2610 996 496 http://www.amibio-project.eu/ WWW  .  AMIBIO - PROJECT  . EU    LIFE08 NAT/GR/000539   With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union CC ONTENTSONTENTS   Hymettus Mountain Fire Protec-tion Measures and SPAY Activities    Page 3 AmiBio - 2 Years of Activity    Page 4 From baseline data to improved habitat management: AmiBio furthers biodiversity conservation in the Hymettus Mountains    Page 2 The AmiBio Concept The AmiBio Team    Page 8  Page 5 Hymettus Ears: the AmiBio Moni-toring Stations  Page 6 Automatic Bird Species Detection in the Field  Page 7 The AmiBio Database: Manage-ment Tools & Interface    6  A MI  B IO   Project progress A UTOMATIC  B IRD  S PECIES  D ETECTION   IN   THE  F IELD   In AmiBio project our aim is the long-term automatic monitoring and alarming about the presence or absence of certain bird species in the Hymettus Mountain. In this scope, in AmiBio Action A.7, the project team developed a software framework for automated species recognition which: (i) Detects species of interest in very long real-field recordings (Terabytes of audio for a single recording station). Such amounts of data cannot not be manually processed or examined or annotated by human observers. The AmiBio software framework ad-dresses the practical limitations of handling enormous amounts of data and the unknown boundaries of the bird vocalizations. (ii) Operates on real-field audio recordings, most of which are characterized by poor quality. The real-field audio recording includes all kinds of acoustic degradations encountered in nature, such as wind, rain, interfering audio sources, frequency selective at-tenuation due to distance and acoustic reflections. The AmiBio approach for handling these difficulties is based on two-pass processing of the audio recordings. The first pass is fast and designed to screen out most of the irrelevant audio events but allowing many false alarms. The second pass is designed to elaborate and exact, and, therefore, computationally intensive. Specifically, we first apply a statistical sound activity detector to reduce the srcinal training data and to annotate automatically all available data. For this purpose, we apply a global bird detector on the data aiming to reduce the search space to a subset of audio segments that is composed only of bird vocalizations. At this stage, portion of the bird vocalizations that were detected can be manually verified, and used for improving/adaptation of the global bird detector. The adapted global bird detector is then reapplied to the search space. Finally, a more sophisticated detector, designed to recognize certain species, is applied to the audio segments selected by the global bird detector. This concept is illustrated in Fig.3. In brief, the audio signal is captured by a microphone, next amplified and then (re)sampled at 32 kHz, so that the wide frequency range of bird vocalizations from various species is covered. Precision of 16-bits per audio sample is used to guarantee sufficient reso-lution of details for the subsequent processing of the signal. After audio acquisition the signal is decomposed to overlapping feature vectors of constant length, using spectral and temporal audio parameterization algo-rithms. The sequence of feature vectors is used as input to the bird activity detection block, where the audio sig-nal is binary segmented to intervals with or without bird vocalizations. Finally, the bird vocalization intervals are processed by the bird species classification block for spe-cies-specific recognition. The presence of non-stationary noises, srcinating from the environment, makes the species recognition task quite challenging. The degree of interference of the envi-ronmental noise and the actual sound-to-noise ratio are crucial for the recognition of bird species. Experimental results on the real-field AmiBio recordings indicated a classification accuracy of approximately 77% (SNR=-6dB) up to 90% (SNR=20dB), which is not sufficient for fully-autonomous surveillance applications, but significantly contributes to efficient use of the time of human-experts and improves the efficiency of area management. The traditional manual observations during filed trips heavily rely on the availability of human experts and on the visual and acoustic abilities of the individual experts, as well as on the degree of knowledge of the surveyor on the under investigation group of bird species. Due to the difficulty of the task, most surveys take place at infre-quent time intervals, and do not allow for the long-term biodiversity monitoring of inhospitable habitats. The effort for post-processing recordings from field trips in-cludes recognition of bird species from their vocaliza-tions. Such post-processing of field data usually is time-consuming, tedious, and expensive since it requires the labour of expert ornithologists. From this perspective, the automated technology for bird identification can also significantly improve the handling and the management of the large amount of information that has been col-lected during field trips. by I. Mporas, T. Ganchev, I. Potamitis, N. Fakotakis, O. Kocsis, O. Jahn, and K. Riede   Fig. 3. Block diagram of the bird species recognition scheme in real field conditions  Audio aquisittion Audio parameterizationBird activity detectionBird species classificationRecognized birdsData storage Bird vocalizationsEnvironmental noise   3  A MI  B IO   2 Y EARS   OF  A CTIVITY   On February 1st, 2012, the AmiBio team celebrated the second anniversary of the project start. Looking back at the long list of activi-ties, achievements, and the main events during these two years, we are proud to report continuous and steady progress, progress that allows a successful completion of project objectives. Our pride and confidence is supported by the achievements of the AmiBio project team, which went beyond what was initially planned in the contract, achievements that have the potential to make a real contribution for the preservation of biodiversity at Hymettus Mountain in the decades to come. Specifically, during the first year of the AmiBio project three preparatory actions were completed successfully. These included activi-ties devoted to: (a) the elaboration of detailed AmiBio project management plan (Action A.1); (b) the preparation of a baseline for a future conservation action plan for Hymettus (Action A.2); (c) the user requirement analysis and the specifications of technology design aspects (Action A.3), which placed the ground for the technology development actions (Action A.4-A.8). The aforementioned three achievements contributed to three parallel dimensions of the project implementation. While the project management plan specified the administrative planning of work for the entire duration of AmiBio and placed the ground for success-ful coordination of the project activities, the work on a baseline proposal for a future conservation plan offered the AmiBio vision about future conservation of biodiversity at Hymettus area. Next, the activities correlating with the user requirement analysis and the specifications of the technology design aspects investigated in-depth the expected functional requirements to the AmiBio tech-nology and prioritized the implementation of this technology in terms of mandatory, optional and desired functionality. Action A.4 had the goal to transform these user requirements to a blueprint for the technology developed within the second year of the AmiBio project. After the first year of the project, the AmiBio team had in disposition well over 1000 hours of own wide-band two-channel audio recordings (over 1 TB of data), collected from different locations in the Hymettus area. This amount quickly increased with every subsequent recording campaign, and by the end of the second year of the project (February 2012) reached over 5 TB of data. These collection campaigns are foreseen to continue at least until the end of the project, in parallel with the automatic system. Coming towards the end of the second year of AmiBio project implementation, most of the preparatory actions were completed, placing the ground for the field tests and preparation of the final phase of the project, namely the installation of the permanent monitoring system. In Action A.6 the wireless sensor network architecture and communication protocols have been established. Atio A. Deelopet of softare fraeork for data olletio, pre - proessig ad delier, hih started i Jauar  h as been completed by November 30. Besides of the software framework for bioacoustic recognition of species, this action developed also the administrative interface for the remote monitoring stations, which provides control and management functionality, area sureillae ad autoated alertig ehaiss. Atio A., Deelopet of data repositor ad appropriate dataase aage-et tools, proides the eessar ifrastruture for data storage ad aageet, through the ipleeted dataase ad a-ageet tools. The last preparator atio, A. “ste Itegratio ad i - la trials, has started i “epteer  ad ill  on-tinue until the end of May 2012. The components and subsystems developed within actions A.5-A.8 have been integrated within this action, and the robustness of the entire system in laboratory conditions tested. The completion of this task allows for field tests and evaluation of the AmiBio system within the Actions E.3, E.4 and E.5. In the last quarter of the second year of the project, the AmiBio web site has been redesigned and the project acquired a new web portal, which integrates the necessary functionality for the real-time management of the monitoring system and the interface to the AmiBio database (accessible only for the project partners). The sections accessible to the public have been redesigned considering friendlier page layouts and many dynamic elements. The AmiBio brochure in Greek and English languages has been published in over 500 copies, two on-site panels have been deployed at the Hymettus Mountain, 7 regular issues in English language and one special issue in German language of the AmiBio newsletter have been published. In addition, AmiBio was present at public awareness and dissemination events, among which:  the NGO Eo Tehologia oferee i Athes, Greee    the XXIII meeting of the International Bioacoustics Council (IBAC 2011) in La Rochelle, France  the International Conference on Ecosystems, Environment and Sustainable Development (ICEESD 2011) in Venice, Italy  the Monitoring and Securing Biodiversity Conference in Brussels, Belgium  the 4th Lati Aeria “posiu Moitorig ad “eurig Biodiersit LA“  i Bo, Gera    the Ifo Da orgaized  )FMK i the sope of the Museu - Mile Festial, hih is orgaized oe a ear i Jue  seeral museums along the Adenauerallee in Bonn, Germany  arious atiities oduted  “PAY: the iterie of “PAY’s presidet Nikos Hardalias, Mayor of Byron Municipality, to SKY TV; (ii) the presentation of the project to the general public and young students during rubbish collection actions in the mountain; and (iii) the introduction given to the Russian regional chiefs for civil protection (EMERCOM) that visited SPAY in December, 2011 In conclusion, the first two years of the AmiBio project demonstrated excellence, and the project achievements make us quite opti-mistic about the opportunities for preservation of the biodiversity of species and of the beauty of the Hymettus Mountain for the future generations. by N. Fakotakis, O. Kocsis, T. Ganchev   Editorial    4  A MI  B IO   Project progress F ROM   BASELINE   DATA   TO   IMPROVED   HABITAT   MANAGEMENT   — A MI B IO   FURTHERS   BIODIVERSITY   CONSERVATION   IN   THE  H YMETTUS  M OUNTAINS   Autoated aousti oitorig of ildlife i the Hettus Natura  area ould ot e possile ithout a good koledge o f the animals present there. Species have to be inventoried and recordings of their vocalizations have to be gathered, identified, tagged, and archived in order to train the sound identification algorithms. Furthermore, effective and efficient data management tools, such as databases and user interfaces, are needed to translate the terabytes of AmiBio audio recordings into something mean-ingful for conservation practitioners. These tasks describe the main responsibilities of the Zoological Research Museum A. Koenig (ZFMK) within the AmiBio project. Between March 2010 and May 2011 we carried out a total of 11 biodiversity surveys, three for insects, seven for birds, and one for bats. Insects were collected, observed, and photographed in the field. Birds are much better known than insects, thus, only audiovisual survey methods were used for this group. During most months of the project we also made unassisted sound recordings, using commercial digital recorders (Song Meter recorders, Wildlife Acoustics Inc.; www.wildlifeacoustics.com/products/acoustic-monitoring). Until the end of April 2012 we made 10,000+ hours of stereo recordings (48kHz, 16 bit) at five Hymettus sites, corresponding to roughly 7 TB of audio data. In addition, we have compiled about 16,000 au-dio recordings of about 325 animal species for the AmiBio reference sound library. The sources for this comprehensive sound collec-tion were online archives and commercial audio publications (see AmiBio Newsletter, April 2011 issue at www.amibio-project.eu). Since May 2011 we noted some additional species during the establishment of the 17 permanent AmiBio sound recording stations and while revising parts of the aforementioned Hymettus sound recordings. As a result the list of sound-producing animals known to occur in the study area increased to 178 species: 25 insects, 1 amphibian, 11 reptiles, 126 birds, and 15 mammals. As for the birds, ZFMK staff has recorded a total of 95 species, 13 of which were not previously reported from the Hymettus by other authors. The list of bats increased from previously two to eight species. However, we are well aware of the fact that our list of orthopterans, cicada, and land vertebrates is not at all conclusive. For instance, apart of the bird species that are already known to occur in the Hymettus, we estimate that about 150 additional species might occur there at least seasonally on migration. Considering the geographic posi-tion of the study site at the coast of the Mediterranean sea northwest of Crete and the southern Aegean Islands, it is evident that the Hymettus massif is a transit area for many avian long-distance migrants. Even unexpected birds might show up from time to time, like the Lemon-rumped Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus , a species of eastern Asian distribution, which was observed in the area of Monastery Kaisariani in early April 2011 (see AmiBio Newsletter, April 2011 issue at www.amibio-project.eu). Of course, the occurrence of vagrants, like the aforementioned warbler, is irrelevant for conservation planning purposes. By con-trast, the status of globally and regionally threatened species is particularly important in this context. Excluding the non-breeding irds fro the aalsis, Hera’s Tortoise Testudo hermanni   and Common Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii   are Near Threat-ened and the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni   Vulnerable at the global level (IUCN 2011). On the regional scale of the European Com-munity 17 non-bird vertebrates are regarded in need of strict protection under the FFH Directive, among them one amphibian, eight reptile, and eight bat species (EC 1992, Annex IV). Of these species, European Ratsnake  Zamenis situla , Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni  , Marginated Tortoise Testudo marginata , Common Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii  , Lesser Horseshoe Bat Rhinolo- phus hipposideros , Blasius’s Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus blasii  , and an unidentified horseshoe bat Rhinolophus sp. require the desig-nation of special areas of conservation, such as Natura 2000 areas (EC 1992, Annex II). Furthermore, 25 avian species are listed in Annex 1 of the Bird Directive (EC 2010), and thus depend on the protection of certain habitats (special protection areas). Of the lat-ter group, 9 avian species are breeding at Hymettus, whereas 16 are non-breeding visitors. Of particular relevance for the design of habitat management measures is the fact that most animal species of conservation concern inhabit open and semi-open habitats rather than forests and woodland. For instance, the European Green Toad Pseudepidalea viridis , prefers semi-open, often disturbed, habitats over continuous forests. Likewise, the reptiles listed in the FFH directive live in habitats like calcareous rocky slopes, phry-gana, maquis, and at forest edges but avoid dense continuous forests. In the case of birds, 18 species (72%) listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive live in open and semi-open habitats, while only four are forest-dwellers (16%). In contrast, bats are extremely selective with respect to their roost sites (e.g., crevices in rocky slopes or buildings, caves, and tree cavities) but opportunistic regarding their feeding habitat. However, it must be emphasized that pine forests are not well suited as bat feeding habitat, in difference to broad-leaved forests, which are used by many bat species. In conclusion, thanks to the faunal surveys in the scope of the AmiBio project we were able to provide biodiversity-related baseline information for a future conservation plan. However, the development of a widely accepted conservation plan and its effective im-plementation in the conservation practice must consider relevant international and national laws, conventions, and initiatives, which together should be weighted against the needs and interests of the many stakeholder groups affecting the fauna and flora of the Hymettus area. Evidently, the latter task is far beyond the scope of the AmiBio project. References EC. 1992. Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Online at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/ habitatsdirective/index_en.htm , last accessed 17 September 2010. EC. 2010. Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds. Online at http://  ec.europa.eu/  environment/nature/legislation/birdsdirective/index_en.htm , last accessed on 14 September 2010.IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, version 2011.2. Online at http://www.iucnredlist.org , last accessed on 25 April 2012. by O. Jahn, K. Riede, P. Grobe, G.U.C. Lehmann, U. Marckmann, K.-L. Schuchmann, R. van den Elzen, A. Weller, T. Kostoulas and S. Ntalampiras   5  A MI  B IO   Project progress H YMETTUS  E ARS : T HE  A MI B IO  M ONITORING  S TATIONS   The AmiBio remote monitoring stations aim at systematic seasonal and longitudinal long-term environmental monitoring, that will allow the automatic inventory and examination of the biological diversity in the region of Hymettus Mountain. The AmiBio monitoring stations (cf. Photo 1) are designed to be compact, transportable, and powered by solar energy. Their function is to record audio and climate data and to transmit these measurements through wireless networks to a distant central station for automatic statistical analysis. For the needs of the AmiBio project we selected a communication con-cept which relies on existing infrastructure for 3G wireless communica-tion in the region of Hymettus Mountain and on existing IP network infrastructure. This design allows the implementation of a cost-effective solution, which meets the requirements of the AmiBio project and, and, at the same time, has a generic character and it can be easily adapted to the needs of other similar projects. The most significant advantage of this concept is its greatest portability and easy relocation of the sound recording stations to different micro-sites for which coverage by the commercial 3G wireless networks is available. This concept also guaran-tees the lowest cost for equipment, the lowest maintenance cost, and offers the most convenient setup. For the implementation of this con-cept the AmiBio project benefits from a bilateral memorandum for part-nership with COSMOTE (www.cosmote.gr). The successful completion of the research and technology development activities in the AmiBio Actions A.5 and A.6 resulted in an operational prototype of the sound recording stations, together with a cost-effective solution for data acquisition and transmission to the remote central station. During the third year of the AmiBio project implementa-tion, within Action E.5, sixteen sound recording stations will be de-ployed at Hymettus Mountain and will start continuous monitoring of the acoustic activity of animals and the environmental parameters at the selected micro-sites. These micro- sites, seleted durig Atio A. Deelopet of oseratio atio pla, oer the fou r most important habitat types at Hymettus, and are expected to provide statistical coverage of the Hymettus fauna. Each of the six-teen sound recording stations is designed to guarantee real-time transmission of multichannel audio data, together with information about the environmental parameters at the specific micro-site. The architecture of the sound recording stations is modular (cf. Fig. 2), making the maintenance of the system cost-effective and the reconfiguration of the hardware fast and convenient. Each AmiBio monitoring station integrates the following func-tionality:  Data acquisition: 3 audio channels sampled at 48 kHz and one ultrasound channel (sampled at 96 kHz or up to 250 kHz)  Wireless connectivity: ability to transmit data through cellu-lar (GSM, 3G) and wireless mesh networks (802.11).  Local environment monitoring: wind speed and direction, rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pres-sure, illumination, etc.  Autonomous operation: reliance to renewable energy sources (solar panels). The audio and environmental data, once transmitted to the base station, undergo statistical processing to extract the biodiversity related information. In addition, the statistical data processing allows for automated surveillance and 24/7 monitoring for dan-ger and crisis events at various locations in the mountain. The deployment of automated data recording stations at Hymettus offers the means for non-intrusive and cost-effective remote monitoring of the area, which is not the case with human expe-ditions, and offers better protection against forest fires and illegal human activities.   by T. Ganchev, K. Birkos, I. Potamitis, I. Mporas, and T. Kostoulas   3G modem Luminosity sensor Weather station USB hub 2 Audio acqusition channels 1  4 Single board computer USB hub 1 Solar panel, charger, battery  AmiBio Sound Recording Station Fig. 2. Overall architecture of the prototype sound recording station Photo 1: Prototype sound recording station during field tests at micro-site HYM005/ Rock cliff of Lake Vouliagmeni
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