Interspecies Communication

Interspecies Communication is a set of four experiments to help study the effects of noise on cicadas in the rainforest, contributing to the research pursuits at Las Cruces Research Station. 


This project explored how we might be able to use digital and electronic tools to support the research efforts at Las Cruces Research Station. After discussing with the leadership of Las Cruces, we learned that one area of interest is learning more about how cicadas communicate at different times during the day. That said, the team was specifically interested in the following research question: how might we use digital naturalism tools to communicate with cicadas throughout the day?

The Interspecies Communication team focused first on listening to cicadas and learning about how they communicate with each other. Next four experiments were prepared to prompt cicadas. These included using a sound laser to pulsate noises at them, playing different types of sounds, utilizing a rattling noise, and creating a light sensor that changes noise frequency during day / night. After the experiments, key findings were collated into a final presentation.

Through this exploration, several electronic devices were used. The sound laser was used in the first two experiments to help direct noises and change the types of sounds being produced. In order to make the rattling noise, the team utilized a simple circuit with a button and a small motor. Lastly, a light sensor was used to change the level of vibrations coming out of a piezo to create cicada-like noises.