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Satellite Telemetry and Long-Range Bat Movements.

Smith, C.S. and Epstein, J.H. and Breed, A.C. and Plowright, R.K. and Olival, K.J. and deJong, C. and Daszak, P. and Field, H.E. (2011) Satellite Telemetry and Long-Range Bat Movements. PLoS ONE, 6 (2). e14696.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014696

Publisher URL: http://www.plosone.org/home.action

Abstract

Background: Understanding the long-distance movement of bats has direct relevance to studies of population dynamics, ecology, disease emergence, and conservation.

Methodology/Principal Findings: We developed and trialed several collar and platform terminal transmitter (PTT) combinations on both free-living and captive fruit bats (Family Pteropodidae: Genus Pteropus). We examined transmitter weight, size, profile and comfort as key determinants of maximized transmitter activity. We then tested the importance of bat-related variables (species size/weight, roosting habitat and behavior) and environmental variables (day-length, rainfall pattern) in determining optimal collar/PTT configuration. We compared battery- and solar-powered PTT performance in various field situations, and found the latter more successful in maintaining voltage on species that roosted higher in the tree canopy, and at lower density, than those that roost more densely and lower in trees. Finally, we trialed transmitter accuracy, and found that actual distance errors and Argos location class error estimates were in broad agreement.

Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that no single collar or transmitter design is optimal for all bat species, and that species size/weight, species ecology and study objectives are key design considerations. Our study provides a strategy for collar and platform choice that will be applicable to a larger number of bat species as transmitter size and weight continue to decrease in the future.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:© 2011 Smith et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This study was core-funded by an NSF/NIH Ecology of Infectious Diseases award (R01 TW005869) from the John E. Fogarty International Center (http://www.fic.nih.gov/) awarded to Peter Daszak, and partially funded by the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (http://www.abcrc.org.au/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Keywords:Fruit bats; flying foxes; animal migration; physiology; ecosystem; population dynamics; transmitters; satellite communications; telemetry; instrumentation; equipment design; solar energy utilization.
Subjects:Technology > Technology (General)
Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals
Deposited On:05 Dec 2011 23:02
Last Modified:05 Dec 2011 23:02

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