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The BAARA (Biological AutomAted RAdiotracking) system: a new approach in ecological field studies.

Řeřucha Š, Bartonička T, Jedlička P, Čížek M, Hlouša O, Lučan R, Horáček I - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: This new approach to a tracking system was tested for its applicability in a series of field and laboratory tests.BAARA has been tested within fieldwork explorations of Rousettus aegyptiacus during field trips to Dakhla oasis in Egypt.The results illustrate the novel perspective which automated radiotracking opens for the study of spatial behaviour, particularly in addressing topics in the domain of population ecology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Scientific Instruments of the ASCR, v.v.i., Královopolská 147, CZ 612 64 Brno, Czech Republic.

ABSTRACT
Radiotracking is an important and often the only possible method to explore specific habits and the behaviour of animals, but it has proven to be very demanding and time-consuming, especially when frequent positioning of a large group is required. Our aim was to address this issue by making the process partially automated, to mitigate the demands and related costs. This paper presents a novel automated tracking system that consists of a network of automated tracking stations deployed within the target area. Each station reads the signals from telemetry transmitters, estimates the bearing and distance of the tagged animals and records their position. The station is capable of tracking a theoretically unlimited number of transmitters on different frequency channels with the period of 5-15 seconds per single channel. An ordinary transmitter that fits within the supported frequency band might be used with BAARA (Biological AutomAted RAdiotracking); an extra option is the use of a custom-programmable transmitter with configurable operational parameters, such as the precise frequency channel or the transmission parameters. This new approach to a tracking system was tested for its applicability in a series of field and laboratory tests. BAARA has been tested within fieldwork explorations of Rousettus aegyptiacus during field trips to Dakhla oasis in Egypt. The results illustrate the novel perspective which automated radiotracking opens for the study of spatial behaviour, particularly in addressing topics in the domain of population ecology.

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Block diagram of the BAARA system.1-omnidirectional antenna array consisting of four directional antennas, 2-antenna multiplexing switch, 3-digitally controlled one channel receiver, 4-main control unit (microcontroller based) driving the antenna system and receiver as well as processing the incoming telemetry signals, 5-memory (SD-card) for data recording, 6-lithium-polymer accumulator for field operation.
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pone.0116785.g001: Block diagram of the BAARA system.1-omnidirectional antenna array consisting of four directional antennas, 2-antenna multiplexing switch, 3-digitally controlled one channel receiver, 4-main control unit (microcontroller based) driving the antenna system and receiver as well as processing the incoming telemetry signals, 5-memory (SD-card) for data recording, 6-lithium-polymer accumulator for field operation.

Mentions: The localisation is based on a time-multiplexed reception of the radio signal (from the telemetry transmitters) with an antenna array that is organised in a way that ensures 360 degree coverage. The array consists of four directional antennas (Fig. 1), where the axes of the front lobes are mutually perpendicular, i.e., one antenna is oriented northwards, one westwards, one eastwards and one southwards. The radiation pattern is adjusted so that its front half is approximately sinusoidal, as shown in Fig. 2a, where the gain of particular antennas depending on the incident angle of radio signal is shown. When the radiation pattern is not optimal, e.g., due to interactions among the individual antennas, the imprecision is compensated for later within the evaluation.


The BAARA (Biological AutomAted RAdiotracking) system: a new approach in ecological field studies.

Řeřucha Š, Bartonička T, Jedlička P, Čížek M, Hlouša O, Lučan R, Horáček I - PLoS ONE (2015)

Block diagram of the BAARA system.1-omnidirectional antenna array consisting of four directional antennas, 2-antenna multiplexing switch, 3-digitally controlled one channel receiver, 4-main control unit (microcontroller based) driving the antenna system and receiver as well as processing the incoming telemetry signals, 5-memory (SD-card) for data recording, 6-lithium-polymer accumulator for field operation.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4340905&req=5

pone.0116785.g001: Block diagram of the BAARA system.1-omnidirectional antenna array consisting of four directional antennas, 2-antenna multiplexing switch, 3-digitally controlled one channel receiver, 4-main control unit (microcontroller based) driving the antenna system and receiver as well as processing the incoming telemetry signals, 5-memory (SD-card) for data recording, 6-lithium-polymer accumulator for field operation.
Mentions: The localisation is based on a time-multiplexed reception of the radio signal (from the telemetry transmitters) with an antenna array that is organised in a way that ensures 360 degree coverage. The array consists of four directional antennas (Fig. 1), where the axes of the front lobes are mutually perpendicular, i.e., one antenna is oriented northwards, one westwards, one eastwards and one southwards. The radiation pattern is adjusted so that its front half is approximately sinusoidal, as shown in Fig. 2a, where the gain of particular antennas depending on the incident angle of radio signal is shown. When the radiation pattern is not optimal, e.g., due to interactions among the individual antennas, the imprecision is compensated for later within the evaluation.

Bottom Line: This new approach to a tracking system was tested for its applicability in a series of field and laboratory tests.BAARA has been tested within fieldwork explorations of Rousettus aegyptiacus during field trips to Dakhla oasis in Egypt.The results illustrate the novel perspective which automated radiotracking opens for the study of spatial behaviour, particularly in addressing topics in the domain of population ecology.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Scientific Instruments of the ASCR, v.v.i., Královopolská 147, CZ 612 64 Brno, Czech Republic.

ABSTRACT
Radiotracking is an important and often the only possible method to explore specific habits and the behaviour of animals, but it has proven to be very demanding and time-consuming, especially when frequent positioning of a large group is required. Our aim was to address this issue by making the process partially automated, to mitigate the demands and related costs. This paper presents a novel automated tracking system that consists of a network of automated tracking stations deployed within the target area. Each station reads the signals from telemetry transmitters, estimates the bearing and distance of the tagged animals and records their position. The station is capable of tracking a theoretically unlimited number of transmitters on different frequency channels with the period of 5-15 seconds per single channel. An ordinary transmitter that fits within the supported frequency band might be used with BAARA (Biological AutomAted RAdiotracking); an extra option is the use of a custom-programmable transmitter with configurable operational parameters, such as the precise frequency channel or the transmission parameters. This new approach to a tracking system was tested for its applicability in a series of field and laboratory tests. BAARA has been tested within fieldwork explorations of Rousettus aegyptiacus during field trips to Dakhla oasis in Egypt. The results illustrate the novel perspective which automated radiotracking opens for the study of spatial behaviour, particularly in addressing topics in the domain of population ecology.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus