Last year, we announced the release of our report exploring the viability of Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) for long term monitoring, we are now pleased to announce that the PAM power analysis simulation tool we developed as part of this work has now been made available online!

The report was the sum of three years of effort – in which we developed and integrated the Density Estimation for Cetaceans from Passive Acoustic Fixed Sensors (DECAF) methodology into a full simulation tool. A number of key inputs are needed in order to estimate density – understanding the sounds that the species of interest make (and crucially how they vary), the current state of knowledge for detecting, classifying (to correctly identify species using their sounds) and localising (identifying the range to the animal) and the current PAM hardware kit capabilities. The report reviewed the current state of knowledge of each of these elements and crucially is the first time that the DECAF methodology has been implemented in a full simulation framework.

The ‘AVADECAF’ tool (‘Assessing the ViAbility of DECAF”) allows us to explore the power of a PAM survey design to detect changes over time. This is a crucial tool for future PAM survey planning! Having developed the simulation tool, we ran 1000s of different scenarios to conduct a large sensitivity analysis. This helped us identify which elements are most important and therefore the subjects where research can be prioritised. Check out the report here for more details.

The AVADECAF simulation tool is now freely available online! All you need to do is click this link to download the zipfile.

The tool runs in R and requires some familiarity with R, but we also created a helpfile which explains all the parameters that can be input into the simulation and provides a step-by-step guide to walk you through using the tool.

Please note: the AVADECAF simulation tool was created with R version 3.3.2 – and check out the Introduction sections of the helpfile to help

You can also learn more about the basis of the DECAF approach on our collaborator website – by the Centre for Research into Environmental and Ecological Modelling, known as ‘CREEM’ (DECAF website). Along with CREEM, we collaborated with folks from SMRU to help deliver this game-changing tool and report!