The science underpinning our approach

"Scientific rigour underlies everything we do at Okala. From design of biomonitoring strategies to actionable biodiversity insights. We use three complementary data sources: wildlife cameras, bioacoustics and eDNA"
Dr Jeremy Cusack, Senior Biodiversity Monitoring Scientist
Our approach

Bioacoustics

Bioacoustic recording devices

Passive acoustic monitoring involves the use of Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) to record audio at a sampling point. Bioacoustics can be used to survey species that are acoustically active - including many birds, bats, insects, and amphibians - which would be difficult and costly to survey otherwise.

A deployed Audiomoth ARU
Audio processing

Our scientists use a variety of cutting edge signal-processing techniques to improve signal and AI algorithms to extract key features from the soundscape.

Spectrogram of a bird song

Wildlife cameras

Camera data

Wildlife cameras record photos and/or videos of passing animals and can operate without intervention for months. They have become the primary method for quantifying mammal diversity, and are particularly useful for studying the distribution, behaviour and abundance of elusive forest mammals.

Deployment of a wildlife camera
image analytics

Our team of data scientists train AI models that reliably and efficiently identify species in your landscape. The AI does not work alone: our expert ecologists are the 'humans in the loop' that provide quality assurance. Importantly, we fully document the labelling process from AI-led prediction to final label to ensure the entire process is transparent, traceable, and easy to audit.

AI prediction of Mandrill

Environmental DNA

eDNA

Organisms leave fragments of their genetic material in the environment - environmental DNA (eDNA). Depending on the project, we use aquatic or soil eDNA to survey a broad range of taxonomic groups, including vertebrates (e.g. fish, amphibian, mammal),  invertebrates (e.g. insects, crustaceans, other arthropods) and soil microbes (e.g. fungus, bacteria).

eDNA sampling
Data processing

We use trusted lab partners to process eDNA samples. Data are used to estimate species richness and other measures of biodiversity, and to detect rare focal species.

Remote Sensing

Earth observation

Our planet is under constant observation from a network of active and passive satellite sensors, with an increasing proportion dedicated to monitoring our natural environment and how it continues to evolve.

Data processing

Satellite data can be used to quantify landcover, estimate carbon stocks and to calculate indices of human pressure.    

Our international team of ecologists have designed and implemented biodiversity monitoring projects and tools around the world. We can tailor the precise strategy to address your specific needs.

Our team has over 50 years combined field experience and has authored over 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers. We are also lucky to have some great photographers as part of our team

Yellow baboons in Tanzania

Field team in Gabon

Mother and calf elephants in Gabon

Flamingos on Lake Nakuru in Kenya

A red squirrel in a Scottish pine forest

African forest buffalo on a savannah in Gabon

A hungry caterpillar

An encounter with a leopard on a road

A wildlife camera being deployed

A Red deer stag in Scotland

A hippo emerging from the Okavango river in Botswana

Zebra in South Africa

Puff Adder in Malawi

Wild dog in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Chameleon in Uganda

A Chilean stag beatle

A hummingbird in the Chilean Patagonia