A team including researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research has developed a novel methodology that for the first time combines 3D and advanced range estimator technologies to provide highly detailed data on the range and movements of terrestrial, aquatic, and avian wildlife species.
A paper detailing the project, called 'Movement-based Estimation and Visualization of Space Use in 3D for Wildlife Ecology and Conservation', was published July 2 in the PLOS ONE online science journal. A video of the project can be viewed on SeedMe at https://www.seedme.org/condor_vis.
Relying on expertise from researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, the team created highly detailed data sets and visualizations after they tracked three highly iconic but threatened species: California condors, giant pandas, and dugongs a large marine animal somewhat similar to the manatee. (See sidebar on tracking the panda and dugong.)
From Days to Minutes
"We were able to speed up their software by several orders of magnitude," said Robert Sinkovits, SDSC's Director of the Scientific Applications Group, which helps researchers make optimal use of SDSC's larger supercomputers, including Gordon and Trestles. "In this case, calculations that had formerly taken four days to complete were finished in less than half an hour."
What started as a supercomputing challenge since 3D modeling is much more computationally data intensive than 2D actually became an exercise in optimizing codes that makes it possible for the current problems of interest to be done on laptops or even smart phones.
"While the researchers with the San Diego Zoo and USGS came to SDSC for our supercomputing, they stayed for our expertise," said Sinkovits. "We welcome them to
|Contact: Jan Zverina|
University of California - San Diego