A newly built wireless biologging network (WBN) allows high-resolution monitoring of small animals, based on a study featured on April 2 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Simon Ripperger of the Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science and his team. As described by the authors, WBNs could close a vital gap in biologging: the totally automated tracking and proximity-sensing of small animals, even in closed habitats, at high spatial and temporal resolution.
Recent advances in animal tracking expertise have ushered in a new period in biologging. By collecting data of unparalleled quantity and quality, automated strategies have revolutionized numerous fields, along with animal ecology, collective behavior, migration, and conservation biology.
Nonetheless, satellite communication for localization or data entry requires quite a lot of power, and heavy transmitters greatly restrict the ability to trace smaller vertebrate species. To address this downside, Ripperger and colleagues developed their WBN—a system that allows high-resolution monitoring of animals weighing as little as 20 grams.
These smaller species make up a large proportion of birds and mammals, so WBNs will give scientists new capabilities to address a wide range of questions in animal behavior and ecology.
As described in the study, WBN is a scalable, flexible system that gives a temporal resolution of seconds, permits automated recording of motion trajectories even in structurally complex habitats similar to woodland, and is an ultra-low-power resolution for remote data access over distances of several kilometers.