Lightweight GPS tags help research track animals of all sizes

December 7, 2011

GPS tracking has shown its utility for wildlife studies, and now, development of light-weight GPS tags will allow researchers access to information about a broader range of small- to medium-sized animals than was previously available, according to a study to be published in the Dec. 7 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

While previous research was generally limited to larger animals that could carry the traditional, heavier weight tags, Mariano Recio of the University of Otago in New Zealand led a team of researchers that studied the performance of a lighter-weight model that can be used on animals that weigh at least 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms).

The lighter equipment required to track these sometimes does not perform as well as the heavier GPS devices, but the team determined how and where the smaller devices must be used to obtain optimal results, eventually allowing for tracking of across a broad range of sizes.

Explore further: Dinosaurs May Have Been Smaller Than We Thought: New Study

More information: Recio MR, Mathieu R, Denys P, Sirguey P, Seddon PJ (2011) Lightweight GPS-Tags, One Giant Leap for Wildlife Tracking? An Assessment Approach. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028225

Related Stories

Dinosaurs May Have Been Smaller Than We Thought: New Study

June 25, 2009

( -- For millions of years, dinosaurs have been considered the largest creatures ever to walk on land. While they still maintain this status, a new study suggests that some dinosaurs may actually have weighed ...

A tracking device that fits on the head of a pin

October 5, 2010

( -- Optical gyroscopes, also known as rotation sensors, are widely used as a navigational tool in vehicles from ships to airplanes, measuring the rotation rates of a vehicle on three axes to evaluate its exact ...

Hibernators live longer mainly because they escape predators

April 1, 2011

( -- Small animals generally live shorter lives than larger animals, but those that hibernate are an exception, primarily because they escape predation during the winter, according to a new study by scientists ...

Cats pass disease to wildlife, even in remote areas

May 12, 2011

Researchers tracking the spread of Toxoplasma gondii – a parasite that reproduces only in cats but sickens and kills many other animals – have found infected wildlife throughout a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) natural ...

Scientists crack code on tracking zebras

May 25, 2011

Field biologists following thousands of wild zebras in Africa used to joke about how nice it would be to have a bar code reader to help them identify and catalogue individual animals.

Recommended for you

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...

Ancestral background can be determined by fingerprints

September 28, 2015

A proof-of-concept study finds that it is possible to identify an individual's ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics – a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological ...

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.