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Right on track? Performance of satellite telemetry in terrestrial wildlife research

Hofman, M P G and Hayward, M W and Heim, M and Marchand, P and Rolandsen, C M and Mattisson, J and Urbano, F and Heurich, M and Mysterud, A and Melzheimer, J and Morellet, N and Voigt, U and Allen, B L and Gehr, B and Rouco, C and Ullmann, W and Holand, O and Jorgensen, n H and Steinheim, G and Cagnacci, F and Kroeschel, M and Kaczensky, P and Buuveibaatar, B and Payne, J C and Palmegiani, I and Jerina, K and Kjellander, P and Johansson, O and LaPoint, S and Bayrakcismith, R and Linnell, J D C and Zaccaroni, M and Jorge, M L S and Oshima, J EF and Songhurst, A and Fischer, C and Mc Bride, RT and Thompson, J J and Streif, S and Sandfort, R and Bonenfant, C and Drouilly, M and Klapproth, M and Zinner, D and Yarnell, R and Stronza, A and Wilmott, L and Meisingset, E and Thaker, M and Vanak, AT and Nicoloso, S and Graeber, R and Said, S and Boudreau, MR and Devlin, A and Hoogesteijn, R and May-Junior, J A and Nifong, J C and Odden, J and Quigley, H B and Tortato, F and Parker, D M and Caso, A and Perrine, J and Tellaeche, C and Zieba, F and Zwijacz-Kozica, T and Appel, CL and Axsom, I and Bean, W T and Cristescu, B and Periquet, S and Teichman, K J and Karpanty, S and Licoppe, A and Menges, V and Black, K and Scheppers, T L and Schai-Braun, S C and Azevedo, F C and Lemos, F G and Payne, A and Swanepoel, L H and Weckworth, B and Berger, A and Bertassoni, A and McCulloch, G and Sustr, P and Athreya, V and Bockmuhl, D and Casaer, J and Ekori, A and Melovski, D and Richard-Hansen, C and van de Vyver, D and Reyna-Hurtado, R and Robardet, E and Selva, N and Sergiel, A and Farhadinia, M S and Sunde, P and Portas, R and Ambarli, H and Berzins, R and Kappeler, P M and Mann, G K and Pyritz, L and Bissett, C and Grant, T and Steinmetz, R and Swedell, L and Welch, R J and Armenteras, D. and Bidder, OR and Gonzalez, TM and Rosenblatt, A. and Kachel, S and Balkenhol, N (2019) Right on track? Performance of satellite telemetry in terrestrial wildlife research. In: PLOS ONE, 14 (5).

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216223


Satellite telemetry is an increasingly utilized technology in wildlife research, and current devices can track individual animal movements at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. However, as we enter the golden age of satellite telemetry, we need an in-depth understanding of the main technological, species-specific and environmental factors that determine the success and failure of satellite tracking devices across species and habitats. Here, we assess the relative influence of such factors on the ability of satellite telemetry units to provide the expected amount and quality of data by analyzing data from over 3,000 devices deployed on 62 terrestrial species in 167 projects worldwide. We evaluate the success rate in obtaining GPS fixes as well as in transferring these fixes to the user and we evaluate failure rates. Average fix success and data transfer rates were high and were generally better predicted by species and unit characteristics, while environmental characteristics influenced the variability of performance. However, 48% of the unit deployments ended prematurely, half of them due to technical failure. Nonetheless, this study shows that the performance of satellite telemetry applications has shown improvements over time, and based on our findings, we provide further recommendations for both users and manufacturers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: PLOS ONE
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the authors
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 17:16
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 17:16
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/62774

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