Rancho Nuevo, Mexico is the site of a long-term, collaborative bi-national program between Mexico and the United States to try and restore the Kemp's ridley sea turtle nesting population. The Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at Padre Island National Seashore recently had a Kemp's ridley, named Esmeralda and outfitted with a Kiwisat 202 satellite transmitter, return to nest 331 days after her PTT was applied. This was a noteworthy event because they usually do not nest in sequential years.
Migratory shorebirds rely on a network of wetlands spread across large landscapes during their annual cycle. During migration, shorebirds will stopover at specific wetland complexes for different purposes and lengths of time. Point Blue scientists captured 81 Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus) during August-September 2012 and 2013 in the Klamath Basin. They assessed flight feather molt status and attached VHF radio-tags (Lotek coded nanotags) to determine (1) their length of stay in the region and (2) winter destinations in California’s Central Valley.
Over 75% of bird species that breed in northern temperature zones are migratory to some degree. Knowledge about how migratory individuals are arranged geographically during stages of this annual cycle (migratory connectivity), and how this impacts population dynamics, life history strategies and therefore effective conservation, is limited. Ovenbirds from two Eastern USA sites were captured and tagged with GPS PinPoint-10 tags, giving some very insightful results.
Climate-driven and anthropogenic pressures are increasing on fish stocks, and are therefore affecting Seabird demographics, diet and foraging behaviour. Seabirds can adjust their time-activity budgets in response to this. Rishworth et al. used NTQB Coded tags and DataSika datalogging receivers to automatically log nest attendance and foraging trip data over multiple seasons. Comparisons to control data, benefits of automated datalogging and impacts on birds are discussed.
It has been relatively recently that radio telemetry has been used to study stopover visits made during migration; a relatively short lived (and largely unexplored) period of birds’ lives. Most telemetry studies on stopover ecology have been on a small scale, but the Phil Taylor lab (Acadia University, Atlantic Cooperative Wildlife Ecology Research Network, Bird Studies Canada) is now tackling larger scale questions with Lotek Wireless / Biotrack (Canada & UK).
Several species of Bats make annual long-distance migrations, but questions about if and how bats use stopover sites to rest and refuel remain unanswered. Silver-haired Bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) are a widespread migratory North American species. Previous studies have suggested Long Point, Ontario (north shore of Lake Erie) as a potential stopover site for this species.
The researchers captured Silver-haired Bats during fall migration at Long Point and used a digital radio-telemetry array to monitor their movements (over an area ~ 20 x 40 km), documenting stopover duration and departure direction. Information on whether the Bats flew across Lake Erie was of particular interest given proposed offshore wind energy development on Lake Erie.
European Farmland bird populations are decreasing, due to modern agricultural practices, include mowing fields earlier in the summer season. The ‘stay-and-hide’ strategy for fledglings is ineffective in this situation, so mowing is highly responsible (in part) for decreases in populations of European farmland birds. Radio tracking of Whinchat fledglings shows a change to an ‘escaping through flight’ strategy as the chicks age and the authors make recommendations to help halt population decline.
A report and some photos from University of Vienna PhD candidate Andrius Pašukonis about their use of Lotek NanoTag transmitters on frogs in Peru.
Watch a video showing the tagging and release of a stingray in the Southeast Region of Brazil. This is the first project devoted to studying marine and freshwater rays in Brazil using acoustic telemetry.
Watch a video documenting Crested Auklet movement patterns obtained using LAT 2900 geolocators. This video shows the movement of three tagged birds and their stunning triangular migration route.
A March 2013 project update report from the N/a’an ku sê Research Programme about their work monitoring perceived conflict cheetahs in Namibia, with research technology support provided by Sirtrack.
Video summary and a link to an article entitled "Timing of breeding carries over to influence migratory departure in a songbird: an automated radiotracking study" by Greg W. Mitchell,
Amy E. M. Newman, Martin Wikelski and D. Ryan Norris, published in April 2012 in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Summary of, and link to, an article entitled "Movements, behavior, and habitat utilization of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) in the Pacific Ocean off Baja California, Mexico, determined from archival tag data analyses, including unscented Kalman filtering" by Kurt M. Schaefer, Daniel W. Fuller, and Barbara A. Block, published in 2011 in Fisheries Research.
Light-based geolocators have been used to find the previously unknown African wintering areas of European Nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus) breeding in Dorset, southern England.
Radio tracking is a popular technique for studying animal movement and behaviour, allowing you to locate individuals at any time, not just when they are visible. New lighter transmitters allow smaller species to be tracked. This case study describes a radio tracking study done on the largest British Dragonfly species.
An excellent example of how partnerships result in better biotelemetry devices can be found in our collaboration with Dr. Barbara A. Block.
Of all the many partnerships that Lotek has enjoyed over the years, one of our most long-standing, productive and rewarding to date is not with an individual researcher, manager or agency, but with an entire watershed’s efforts to sustain its fishery.
As a designer of tools for scientists, Lotek is a strong believer in supporting scientific research.