Acoustic ecology, or ecoacoustics, is a growing field that uses sound as a tool to evaluate animal communities. In this manuscript, we evaluate recordings from eight tropical forest sites that vary in species richness, from a relatively low diversity Caribbean forest to a megadiverse Amazonian forest, with the goal of understanding the relationship between acoustic space use (ASU) and species diversity across different taxonomic groups. For each site, we determined the acoustic morphospecies richness and composition of the biophony, and we used a global biodiversity dataset to estimate the regional richness of birds. Here, we demonstrate how detailed information on activity patterns of the acoustic community (<22 kHz) can easily be visualized and ASU determined by aggregating recordings collected over relatively short periods (4–13 days). We show a strong positive relationship between ASU and regional and acoustic morphospecies richness. Premontane forest sites had the highest ASU and the highest species richness, while dry forest and montane sites had lower ASU and lower species richness. Furthermore, we show that insect richness was the best predictor of variation in total ASU, and that insect richness was proportionally greater at high-diversity sites. In addition, insects used a broad range of frequencies, including high frequencies (>8000 Hz), which contributed to greater ASU. This novel approach for analyzing the presence and acoustic activity of multiple taxonomic groups contributes to our understanding of ecological community dynamics and provides a useful tool for monitoring species in the context of restoration ecology, climate change and conservation biology.
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