A novel software system developed by researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, has been used in the first global camera trap study of mammals, which made international headlines last month by emphasizing the importance of protected areas to ensure the diversity and survival of a wide range of animal populations.
The study, led by Jorge Ahumada, an ecologist with the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM) at Conservation International, documented 105 species in nearly 52,000 images from seven protected areas across the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The images, according to a recent announcement by TEAM and Conservation International, reveal a wide variety of animals in their most candid moments from a minute mouse to the enormous African elephant as well as gorillas, cougars, giant anteaters and, surprisingly, even tourists and poachers. A gallery of images from the study can be found here.
Findings from the study not only the first global camera trap mammal study but also the largest camera trap study of any class of animals were published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Analysis of collected data has helped scientists confirm a key conclusion that until now was only understood through uncoordinated local study: that habitat loss and smaller reserves have a direct and detrimental impact on the diversity and survival of mammal populations.
"Our goal was to come up with a software system to address the fact that despite advances in digital image capture, field biologists still lack adequate software solutions to process and manage the increasing amount of digital information in a cost-efficient manner," said SDSC researcher Kai Lin, who led the software project.
Called DeskTEAM and developed in the context of the TEAM project, the system incorporates numerous software features and functions specifically designe
|Contact: Jan Zverina|
University of California - San Diego