Terrestrial zoology

Audiovisual Biodiversity Research

The field of Audiovisual Biodiversity Research deals with the description, research, and observation of biodiversity using autonomous devices such as bioacoustic methods and camera traps.

Biomonitoring and nature conservation

Due to the global biodiversity crisis and climatic changes, constant biomonitoring at selected locations is more important than ever for nature conservation e.g., for monitoring of protected or invasive species, control of stocks, or to identify human-nature conflicts. Identifying how wildlife utilizes different habitat types available to them provides key information that can be used to direct management interventions and to determine sustainable land-use practices.

At our research stations in Bolivia and South Africa, we test and develop new methods for long-term monitoring of biodiversity. The first step is simply collecting, documenting, and archiving the data with autonomous devices such as long-term audio recorders and camera traps. The second step is analysis methods, for example with citizen science and artificial intelligence, in order to make this big data usable at all. In the last step, we work on various biological and ecological questions, for example about local biodiversity and biodiversity loss.

Citizen science
Our goal for our  WildLIVE! project is to develop a project that acts on the three levels of science, society, and nature conservation. Science documents biodiversity and provides facts about species, and populations, and investigates their threats. Citizen scientists help us by processing data and thus come into contact with science, biodiversity, nature, and sadly in some cases biodiversity loss. However, this research can lead to real-life benefits for nature conservation, for example, the jointly developed results of our long-term observations make the extent of loss clear and provide important information for decision-makers. In addition, the citizen scientists’ newly acquired knowledge of species and their “digital nature experience” can help to initiate social change.

Data management and curation

Large volumes of data generated by autonomous devices can be difficult to manage and process timeously. There is also a lack of research data infrastructure available for archiving and cataloguing such “Big Data.” We are working towards developing a collaborative approach that will bring together practitioners, students, citizen scientists, and academics to merge data collection, analysis, archiving, and artificial intelligence.



Integrative biomonitoring 

Autonomous devices today offer a wide range of options for non-invasive nature observation.  Using a combination of biomonitoring techniques compensates for detection biases and increases the number of species that can be monitored. For example, camera traps typically target terrestrial animals e.g., carnivores, ungulates, and ground birds, and can assess habitat conditions, whereas acoustic recorders capture vocal species e.g., anurans, bats, birds, and invertebrates. Combining methods allows for multi-scaled assessments of community structures and interactions amongst taxa. Data can then can be used to simultaneously evaluate the abundance, distribution, and behavior of various guilds and trophic levels.

We have already been using this integrative approach to describe new species (alpha taxonomy) by combining different methods, such as morphology, bioacoustics, and molecular data in the taxonomy of the neotropical anurans (frogs).

Go with us on a trip to Bolivia and help us to identify animals! We need your support in evaluating our camera traps – the whole thing can be done from home, of course! Click here for the citizen science conservation project WildLIVE! ….


Dr. Martin Jansen

Dr. Martin Jansen undertook his first research and collecting trip for Senckenberg to Latin America already in 1999 during his biology studies. In 2004, he was co-initiator of the research station “Chiquitos” for the exploration and conservation of the Chiquitano dry forest in Bolivia. He heads the “Audiovisual Biodiversity Research” unit in the Terrestrial Zoology Department at Senckenberg.

Scientific articles


Fouquet, A., Marinho, P., Réjaud, A., Carvalho, T. R., Caminer, M. A. Jansen, M., Rainha, R., Rodrigues, M. T., Werneck, F. P. Lima, A. P. Hrbek, T. , Giaretta, A. A., Venegas, P. J., Chávez, G. & S.Ron (2021) Systematics and biogeography of the Boana albopunctata species group (Anura, Hylidae), with the description of two new species from Amazonia, Systematics and Biodiversity, 19:4, 375-399, DOI: 10.1080/14772000.2021.1873869



Emmrich M, Vences M, Ernst R, Köhler J, Barej MF, Glaw F, Jansen M, Rödel M-O (2020) A guild classification system proposed for anuran advertisement calls. Zoosystematics and Evolution 96(2): 515-525. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.96.38770

Pansonato A, Motta A, Cacciali P, Haddad CFB, Strüssmann C, Jansen M (2020) On the identity of species of Oreobates (Anura: Craugastoridae) from central South America, with the description of a new species from Bolivia. Journal of Herpetology54 (4): 393–412. doi: https://doi.org/10.1670/20-001

Jansen, M, Engler, M, Blumer, LM, Rumiz, DI, Aramayo, JL, Krone, O. (2020) A camera trapping survey of mammals in the mixed landscape of Bolivia’s Chiquitano region with a special focus on the jaguar. CheckList 16(2): 323-335.

Azevedo, JAR, Guedes, TB, de C. Nogueira, C, Passos, P, Sawaya, RJ, Prudente, ALC, Barbo, FE, Strüssmann, C, Franco, FL, Arzamendia, V, Giraudo, AR, Argôlo, AJS, Jansen, M, Zaher, H, Tonini, JFR, Faurby S & Antonelli, A (2020): Museums and cradles of diversity are geographically coincident for narrowly distributed Neotropical snakes: Ecography 43(2): 328-339



Romero-Muñoz, A. Jansen, M., Nuñez, A. M., Almonacid, R. V., Kümmerle, T. (2019): Fires scorching Bolivia´s Chiquitano forest. Science 366, 6469: 1089.


Jansen, M., D. Santana, B. F. D. Teixeira & G. Köhler (2019) A new striped species of Dendropsophus (Anura: Hylidae) with a composite advertisement call and comments on the D. rubicundulus group. Vertebrate Zoology 69(3), DOI: 10.26049/VZ69-3-2019-01



Bálint, M., Nowak, C., Márton, O., Pauls, S. U., Wittwer, C., Aramayo B., J. L., Schulze, A., Chambert, T., Cocchiararo, B. & Jansen, M. (2018): Accuracy, limitations and cost-efficiency of eDNA-based community structure assessments in tropical frogs. Molecular Ecology Resources. 18(6): 1415-1426. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12934

Guedes TB, Sawaya RJ, Zizka A, Bérnil RS, Jansen M, Passos P, Prudente ALC, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Braz H, Nogueira CdC. & Antonelli A: Patterns, biases, and prospects in the distribution and diversity of Neotropical snakes. Global Ecol Biogeogr. 2018; 27:14–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12679



Jörn Köhler, Martin Jansen, Ariel Rodríguez, Philippe J. R. Kok, Luís Felipe Toledo, Mike Emmrich, Frank Glaw, Célio F. B. Haddad, Mark-Oliver Rödel & Miguel Vences: The use of bioacoustics in anuran taxonomy: theory, terminology, methods and recommendations for best practice. Zootaxa, 4251, 1-124, 2017

Marcel A. Caminer, Borja Milá, Martin Jansen, Antoine Fouquet, Pablo J. Venegas, Germán Chávez, Andrew Chek, Santiago R. Ron: Systematics of the Dendropsophus leucophyllatus species complex (Anura: Hylidae): Cryptic diversity and the description of two new species. PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0171785 March 1, 2017



Jansen, M., A. Masurowa & R. B. O’Hara (2016): Temporal variation, duty cycle and absolute calling effort during sustained calling of Leptodactylus mystacinus (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Salamandra 52(4): 328-336.

Pansonato, A., A. C. Veiga-Menoncello, J. R. Mudrek, M. Jansen, S. M. Reco-Pimentel & I. A. Martins (2016): Two new species of Pseudopaludicola Miranda-Ribeiro, 1926 (Anura: Leptodactylidae: Leiuperinae) from eastern Bolivia and western Brazil. Herpetologica, 72(3): 235-255.

Jansen, M., M. Plath, F. Brusquetti & M. Ryan (2016): Asymmetric frequency shift in advertisement calls of sympatric frogs. Amphibian-Reptilia, 37: 137-152



Schulze, A., Jansen, M. & G. Köhler (2015): Tadpole diversity of Bolivia`s lowland anuran communities: molecular identification, morphological characterization, and ecological assignment. Zootaxa, 4016(1):1-111.



Gehara, M., Crawford, A. J., Orrico, V. G. D., Rodríguez, A., Lötters, S., Fouquet, A., Barrientos, L. S., Brusquetti, F., De la Riva, I., Ernst, R., Urrutia, G. G., Glaw, F., Guayasamin, J. M., Hölting, M., Jansen, M., Kok, P. J. R., Kwet, A., Lingnau, R., Lyra, M., Moravec, J., Pombal Jr., J. P., Rojas-Runjaic, F. J. M.,  Schulze, A., Celsa Señaris, J., Solé, M., Rodrigues, M. T., Twomey, E., Haddad, C. F. B., Vences, M. and Köhler J. (2014 ). High levels of diversity uncovered in a widespread nominal taxon: continental phylogeography of the Neotropical tree frog Dendropsophus minutus. 2014. Plos One, 10 September 2014.

Brusquetti, F., Jansen, M., C. Barrio-Amorós, Magno Segalla & C. F. B. Haddad (2014): Taxonomic review of Scinax fuscomarginatus (Lutz, 1925) and related species (Anura; Hylidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 171, 4: 783-821



Schulze, A. & M. Jansen: One species, two strategies? Oviposition site variation in a member of the Leptodactylus pentadctylus group (Amphibia: Anura: Leptodactylidae). Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 47, 183-191, DOI:10.1080/01650521.2012.71110

Jansen, M. & A. Schulze (2012): Molecular, morphology and bioacoustic data suggest Bolivian distribution of a large species of the Leptodactylus pentadactylus group (Amphibia: Anura: Leptodactylidae). Zootaxa, 3307, 35–47



Jansen, M., R. Bloch, A. Schulze & M. Pfenninger (2011): Integrative inventory of Bolivia’s lowland frogs reveals hidden diversity. Zoologica Scripta, 40, 6, 567–583



Mebs, D., M. Jansen, G. Köhler, W. Pogoda & G. Kauert: Myrmecophagy and alkaloid sequestration in amphibians: A study on Dendrobatidae (Ameerega picta) and Microhylidae (Elachistocleis) frogs. Salamandra 46(1): 11-15.#



Jansen, M., A. Schulze, L. Werding & B. Streit (2009): Effects of extreme drought in the dry season on an anuran community in the Bolivian Chiquitano region. Salamandra 45(4): 233-238

Jansen, M., L. Gonzales & G. Köhler (2009): Description of a new species of Xenopholis (Serpentes: Colubridae) from the Cerrado of Bolivia with comments on Xenopholis scalaris in Bolivia. Zootaxa 2222: 31-45.

Schulze, A., Jansen, M. & G. Köhler (2009): Diversity and ecology of an anuran community in San Sebastián, Bolivia. Salamandra 45:75-90.



Jansen, M., L. Gonzales & G. Köhler (2007): New species of Hydrolaetare (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from Bolivia with some notes on its natural history. Journal of Herpetology 41(4): 724-732.



Jansen, M.: Zeckenbefall bei Lacerta agilis Linnaeus, 1758 und Zootoca vivipara Jacquin, 1787 im Spessart. Salamandra, Rheinbach 38(2): 85-94.

Jansen, M. & G. Köhler: Biogeografische Analyse der Herpetofauna von ausgewählten Hochlandgebieten Nicaraguas. Salamandra, Rheinbach, 38 (4): 269-286.



Jansen, M. & G. Köhler: Ökologie des Mombacho-Salamanders, Bolitoglossa mombachoensis Köhler & McCranie, 1999, am Volcán Mombacho, Nicaragua (Caudata: Plethodontidae). Salamandra, Rheinbach, 37 (2): 83-98.

Maya Beukes
Data officer

Maya Beukes has been working at Senckenberg since February 2022. After working for six years in environmental management she pursued her interest in ecological research.  She founded the Kgalagadi Lion Project and completed her Master’s degree in lion ecology. Following on she worked for an NGO overseeing research, collaborations, and monitoring and evaluation. Maya then founded the Baviaanskloof Wildlife Project and is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in Zoology through Rhodes University (South Africa) whilst working as a Research Data Officer for Senckenberg’s Audiovisual Biodiversity Research Department.

Nams, V.O., Parker, D.M., Weise, F.J., Patterson, B.D., Buij, R., Radloff, F.G., Vanak, A.T., Tumenta, P.N., Hayward, M.W., Swanepoel, L.H. and Funston, P.J., 2023. Spatial patterns of large African cats: a large‐scale study on density, home range size, and home range overlap of lions Panthera leo and leopards Panthera pardus. Mammal Review.

Bouderka, S., Perry, T.W., Parker, D., Beukes, M. and Mgqatsa, N., 2022. Count me in: Leopard population density in an area of mixed land‐use, Eastern Cape, South Africa. African Journal of Ecology61(1), pp.228-232.

Beukes, M., Radloff, F.G. and Ferreira, S.M., 2020. Spatial and seasonal variation in lion (Panthera leo) diet in the southwestern Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. African Journal of Wildlife Research50(1), pp.55-68.

Beukes, M., Radloff, F.G.T. and Ferreira, S.M., 2017. Estimating lion’s prey species profile in an arid environment. Journal of Zoology303(2), pp.136-144.