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Evaluation of a novel wildlife telemetry device with data transfer capabilities




Davis, Melanie, author
Hobbs, N. Thompson, advisor
Miller, Michael W., committee member
Crooks, Kevin, committee member
Massey, Daniel, committee member

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The construction of low-cost, advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) telemetry systems for wildlife tracking is growing in popularity, especially systems that can communicate with each other to track contacts and, more recently, transfer data. This novel function represents a step forward from current technology because it allows researchers to retrieve data from collars that have been damaged or lost. It also elucidates broad networks of interactions between individuals to monitor disease spread and social preference. I tested the communication and data transfer capabilities of a low-cost, custom-built GPS telemetry collar with an on-board wireless sensor network. I performed several trials using captive bighorn sheep to measure how data transfer reliability is impacted by the bodily obstruction of an animal, and to determine the accuracy of logged contacts. I present the results of these trials, which show that data transfer is adversely affected by the placement of the collar around the sheeps' necks, but that the contact accuracy remains uncompromised. Once refined, this technology could represent a significant improvement over currently-available telemetry devices, and may offer novel insight into previously unobserved ecological phenomena.


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delay tolerant network
Ovis canadensis
global positioning system
proximity logger
state-centric telemetry
wildlife telemetry


Associated Publications