Knowledge that can be gained from acoustic data collection in tropical ecosystems is low‐hanging fruit. There is every reason to record and with every day, there are fewer excuses not to do it. In recent years, the cost of acoustic recorders has decreased substantially (some can be purchased for under US$50, e.g., Hill et al. 2018) and the technology needed to store and analyze acoustic data is continuously improving (e.g., Corrada Bravo et al. 2017, Xie et al. 2017). Soundscape recordings provide a permanent record of a site at a given time and contain a wealth of invaluable and irreplaceable information. Although challenges remain, failure to collect acoustic data now in tropical ecosystems would represent a failure to future generations of tropical researchers and the citizens that benefit from ecological research. In this commentary, we (1) argue for the need to increase acoustic monitoring in tropical systems; (2) describe the types of research questions and conservation issues that can be addressed with passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) using both short‐ and long‐term data in terrestrial and freshwater habitats; and (3) present an initial plan for establishing a global repository of tropical recordings.
Deichmann, J. L., Acevedo‐Charry, O. , Barclay, L. , Burivalova, Z. , Campos‐Cerqueira, M. , d'Horta, F. , Game, E. T., Gottesman, B. L., Hart, P. J., Kalan, A. K., Linke, S. , Nascimento, L. D., Pijanowski, B. , Staaterman, E. and Mitchell Aide, T. (2018), It's time to listen: there is much to be learned from the sounds of tropical ecosystems. Biotropica. doi:10.1111/btp.12593