Scientists have always attempted to follow animals and track them in their natural environment. In the past, these efforts were limited for various reasons. We are in an age, now, where we know so much more about life on Earth (and even off Earth). It’s astonishing to look back and be able to see the advancements we’ve made in our understanding of the way our ecosystem is working.
We have made these strides by tracking animals in their natural habitats. Doing so, we are able to see how and where they live, what they eat, and how they react to intruders and dangerous situations. According to the authors of a research article in Science Magazine, animal tracking and the information we receive from it is crucial to our environment and us. Behold, the awesome strides made possibly by animal tracking technologies…
Out With The Old, In With The New!
Scientists have used VHF radio technology in the past to track animals. This traditional form of tracking has previously given us a decent amount of information on animals and their whereabouts. Unfortunately, using radio technology has limited our ability to have a “big picture” view of the animal and its species. The main form of tracking that is being used today is by GPS transmitter. A satellite picks up the signal and transmits the information back to scientists where they record the data.
What We Can Learn With GPS Tracking
These new GPS trackers can observe a larger array of animals at once and also several different facts about the animals fitted with the transmitters. Specifically, we can learn physiological details and even monitor brain waves. This type of tracking gives us a more complete and accurate picture of the animal and its patterns. With this system, we can also track their energy levels, health condition, interaction with other animals, and real-time whereabouts.
According to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s research associates, because of this new equipment, we are in a golden age of animal tracking and gaining knowledge about the environment. According to the Science Magazine article, written by Roland Kays, Margaret Crofoot and Martin Wikelsk, “The unique perspective offered by big-data animal tracking enables a new view of animals as naturally evolved sensors of environment, which we think has the potential to help us monitor the planet in completely new ways.”
Understanding each of these elements of the animal and its lifestyle is vital for biodiversity and ecology research. I think research of this magnitude could potentially assist us in preventing the destruction of smaller ecosystems and aid in our understanding of what is happening on our planet.