About A2O

The Australian Acoustic Observatory (A2O) is a continental-scale acoustic sensor network, recording for a five-year period across multiple Australian ecosystems.

A2O will have approximately 360 continuously operating acoustic sensors collecting 2PB of sound data over the duration of the project. The project is funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant of $1.8 million.

More information about the A2O can be found in a paper published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution (Roe at al., 2021). Please cite this paper if using A2O data for research or other purposes.

Why have an observatory?

A2O is leading collaborative research

The A2O is led by Professor Paul Roe from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Ecoacoustics Research Group, in collaboration with Professor David Watson from Charles Sturt University (CSU), Professor Lin Schwarzkopf from James Cook University (JCU), Associate Professor Paul McDonald from the University of New England (UNE), and Professor Richard Fuller from the University of Queensland (UQ).

The A2O Chief Investigators have a deep understanding of Australia’s fragile and mega-diverse environment, and the collection and interpretation of acoustic data, providing leading research expertise in this emerging field.

How it works

A2O concept

Observatory Concept

The A2O is a big data project

Not unlike astronomical observatories, the A2O collects large volumes of high-resolution data over time using a distributed sensor network.

These data are stored on the cloud and made available to researchers, citizen scientists, and the general public.

A2O design

Site locations

The A2O incorporates 90 sites across seven major ecoregions.

Site-level design

Each site is linked to four acoustic sensors, with two acoustic sensors established in relatively wet habitat (wetland, river, creek, drainage line, spring, depression etc.) and two in relatively dry habitat. The range of wet and dry locations varies from site to site based on local conditions. This arrangement provides a total of 360 acoustic sensors across the network.


Acoustic sensors are built to specification by Frontier Labs in Brisbane, Australia. Each acoustic sensor stores data on high-capacity SD cards, which are manually collected and replaced at least once a year.

Acoustic sensors are powered by solar panels, with all equipment easily mounted on a standard 1.8 m star picket. This design ensures each acoustic sensor and additional hardware is simple to install and has minimal space requirements.