Lightweight GPS tags help research track animals of all sizes

Dec 07, 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: First evidence that reptiles can learn through imitation

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

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