Welcome to Soundscapes to Landscapes

Welcome to our site, and thank you for interest in our project! Soundscapes to Landscapes is a science-based project that seeks to advance animal biodiversity monitoring by making use of Earth-observing satellites. The project is currently focused on mapping bird diversity across Sonoma County, but could expand to other animal groups and landscapes in the future.

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See our most recent e-news updates here.



birdSoundscapes to Landscapes is made up of teams of volunteers—“citizen scientists”. These citizen scientists include local Audubon Chapter members and college students, who place portable sound recorders called AudioMoths (www.openacousticdevices.info) out in a variety of habitats across Sonoma County. The teams return to retrieve the recorders after a period of 2-5 days and upload these “soundscape” recordings to a cloud-based computer system. Experts within the birding community then use a subset of the recordings to train a computer to identify bird species present in field site recordings.

treeFrom the information on bird species collected at field sites, the science team will use statistical modeling and satellite data to make countywide maps of bird diversity. The project tests the accuracy of models that include several cutting-edge remote sensors.  One sensor, called LIght Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) uses pulses of light to measure the physical structure of vegetation, such as heights of trees and understory plants. Another technology being tested is an “imaging spectrometer,” that provides images from hundreds of light measurements, including wavelengths that our eyes cannot observe. Spectroscopy images can detect canopy chemistry, such as water and nitrogen content, that can be linked to ecosystem productivity and habitat quality.

The Soundscapes to Landscapes project is a partnership among the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Analysis (CIGA) at Sonoma State University, Point Blue Conservation Science, Audubon California, Pepperwood Preserve, Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District, UC Merced and Northern Arizona University. This project is funded by NASA’s Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program (NNX17AG59A), in the Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division.

Check out our poster for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Conference HERE!

Get Involved

Dr. Matthew Clark, a professor at Sonoma State University, and his team were recently awarded a NASA-funded citizen science grant to compare bird songs recorded in the field to habitat attributes measured from satellites in space!

During the prototype phase in 2017, Dr. Clark partnered with Pepperwood Preserve to test the methodology at the 3200-acre nature reserve, along with other properties around the Mark West watershed area. Following success in the Mark West watershed area, we have recently received funding for a three-year implementation phase, in which we are scaling the project up to cover all of Sonoma County. Other project partners include Point Blue Conservation Science, which will help process the data, and the Sonoma County Agricultural Protection and Open Space District, which is inviting the team to make measurements on multiple properties located throughout the county.

In order for this project to work, we need landowners who are willing to deploy sound recorders on their property. We are also in need of birders who can identify Sonoma County bird calls from recordings. This is where you come in! We are currently in the process of listening to our recordings and working with birders who are identifying the birds from our recordings.

If you own land in Sonoma County or have a passion for birding and are interested in being involved with this project, contact Dr. Clark at matthew.clark@sonoma.edu, or through our Contact Us page. For periodic updates about our work and opportunities to participate in the project, sign up for our mailing list here.


If you are a birder or a landowner with interest in working on this project, please fill out the information below. We can’t wait to work with you!



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