Developing Tools & Technologies 

Technological innovation is enabling us to address questions in animal movement research not possible a decade ago. The rapid advancement in animal-borne technology is enabling researchers to collect high resolution data that reveal the detailed facets of animal movement. Such insights are fundamentally altering our understanding of the structure and function of animal populations, communities and ecosystems. Here at the MLE-Lab, we are developing an array of technologies to assist us to better manage human wildlife conflict and threatened species through the prism of movement. 

 

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The majority of biotelemetry researchers purchase their animal-borne tracking devices off-the-shelf. These devices are of a sufficient high cost that enforces a low sample size upon the study. For some research purposes this is OK, but for the modelling population processes these data can be insufficient. Here at the MLE-lab we have developed a GPS locating collars with a satellite relay that cost less than 10% of the GPS/iridium or GPS/ARGOS platforms.  We are not a commercial company however, and are only interested in collaboration projects with our devices.

 

 

In most cases of human-wildlife conflict the pest species is occurring at high densities. To understand the causes and consequences of human-wildlife conflict across the landscape a high number of animals need to be tracked simultaneously. We are using our super cheap tracking devices to track magpie geese and feral pigs in sufficient numbers to understand how individual-based movements result in shifts in the abundance and distribution of the population.

 

 

The increased complexity of the data collections from animal-telemetry devices demands software and programming skills to process, store and disseminate the datasets. Here at the MLE-Lab, we are developing software to aid movement ecology researchers to analyse, visualise and share their research data.

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The ZoaTrack.org platform offers a set of robust, up-to-date and accessible tools for managing, processing, visualising and analysing animal location data and linking these outputs with environmental datasets. To view the animal tracking repository or to input your data go to ZoaTrack.org.

 

 
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We are also pioneering the application of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (Drones) in the field of animal ecology. RPAS are used to gather landscape data, undertake wildlife surveys, and remotely monitor animal movement and habitat selection.

 

 

Related Publications:

  1. Campbell, H.A., Watts, M.E., Dwyer, R.G., Franklin, C.E. (2012). V-Track: software for analysing and visualising animal movement from acoustic telemetry detections. Marine and Freshwater Research 63(9):815-820. [PDF]
  2. Campbell, H.A., Urbano, F., Davidson, S., Dettki, H., Cagnacci F. (2016) A plea for standards in reporting data collected by animal-borne electronic devices. Animal Biotelemetry 4 (1). [PDF]
  3. Campbell, H.A., Beyer, H.L., Dennis, T.E., Dwyer, R.G., Forester, J.D. et al. (2015). Finding our way: On the sharing and reuse of animal telemetry data in Australasia. Science in the Total Environment (Special issue: Catalysing transdisciplinary synthesis in ecosystem science and management) 534: 79-84. [PDF]
  4. Dwyer, R.G, Campbell, H.A., Brooking, C, Brimblecombe, W., Hunter J., Watts, M.W., Franklin, C.E. (2015). An open Web-based system for the analysis and sharing and analysis of animal tracking data. Animal Biotelemetry 3(1): 1-11. [PDF]
  5. Dwyer, R.G., Campbell, H.A., Franklin, C.E. (2015). Does the telemetry technology matter? Comparing estimates of aquatic animal space-use generated from GPS-based and passive acoustic tracking. Marine and Freshwater Research 66 (7): 654-664. [PDF]