Networks Unit
IMT School
for Advanced Studies
Lucca (Italy)


andrea.perna at

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Data loggers and the study of animal behaviour

Studying the behaviour of animals in the wild is not always easy because animals can run away from sight or because we may not be able to identify them individually. However, we are now learning a lot about animal migrations, activity patterns and also animal physiology by attaching small data loggers to the animal such as GPS-sensors (global positioning system) and accelerometers.

Calibrating data loggers

If the use of data loggers provides a lot of information about an animal and its environment, two questions remain difficult to address: does the attached logger change the behaviour of the animal? And, what does the logger actually measure?
We work in collaboration with the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Andover to address these questions on birds of prey. Birds of prey can be observed flying in semi-natural conditions. They can be lured to fly over controlled paths and we can record their flight with a camera. This all means that we can quantify their behaviour with and without the logger and we can calibrate the logger data against those from the videos.

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