A multi-species evaluation of digital wildlife monitoring using the Sigfox IoT network

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2023
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Animal Biotelemetry. Springer. 2023, 11(1), 13. eISSN 2050-3385. Available under: doi: 10.1186/s40317-023-00326-1
Zusammenfassung

Bio-telemetry from small tags attached to animals is one of the principal methods for studying the ecology and behaviour of wildlife. The field has constantly evolved over the last 80 years as technological improvement enabled a diversity of sensors to be integrated into the tags (e.g., GPS, accelerometers, etc.). However, retrieving data from tags on free-ranging animals remains a challenge since satellite and GSM networks are relatively expensive and or power hungry. Recently a new class of low-power communication networks have been developed and deployed worldwide to connect the internet of things (IoT). Here, we evaluated one of these, the Sigfox IoT network, for the potential as a real-time multi-sensor data retrieval and tag commanding system for studying fauna across a diversity of species and ecosystems. We tracked 312 individuals across 30 species (from 25 g bats to 3 t elephants) with seven different device concepts, resulting in more than 177,742 successful transmissions. We found a maximum line of sight communication distance of 280 km (on a flying cape vulture [ Gyps coprotheres ]), which sets a new documented record for animal-borne digital data transmission using terrestrial infrastructure. The average transmission success rate amounted to 68.3% (SD 22.1) on flying species and 54.1% (SD 27.4) on terrestrial species. In addition to GPS data, we also collected and transmitted data products from accelerometers, barometers, and thermometers. Further, we assessed the performance of Sigfox Atlas Native, a low-power method for positional estimates based on radio signal strengths and found a median accuracy of 12.89 km (MAD 5.17) on animals. We found that robust real-time communication (median message delay of 1.49 s), the extremely small size of the tags (starting at 1.28 g without GPS), and the low power demands (as low as 5.8 µAh per transmitted byte) unlock new possibilities for ecological data collection and global animal observation.

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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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Animal tracking, Movement ecology, Telemetry, Biologging, LPWAN, LoRa, Wireless sensors, Embedded systems, Onboard processing, Sigfox
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ISO 690WILD, Timm A., Louis VAN SCHALKWYK, Georg HEINE, Nina RICHTER, Bernd VORNEWEG, Jens C. KOBLITZ, Dina K. N. DECHMANN, Jesko PARTECKE, Nils Benjamin LINEK, Tamara VOLKMER, Troels GREGERSEN, Rasmus W. HAVMØLLER, Kevin MORELLE, Wolfgang FIEDLER, Martin WIKELSKI, 2023. A multi-species evaluation of digital wildlife monitoring using the Sigfox IoT network. In: Animal Biotelemetry. Springer. 2023, 11(1), 13. eISSN 2050-3385. Available under: doi: 10.1186/s40317-023-00326-1
BibTex
@article{Wild2023-03-25multi-66723,
  year={2023},
  doi={10.1186/s40317-023-00326-1},
  title={A multi-species evaluation of digital wildlife monitoring using the Sigfox IoT network},
  number={1},
  volume={11},
  journal={Animal Biotelemetry},
  author={Wild, Timm A. and van Schalkwyk, Louis and Heine, Georg and Richter, Nina and Vorneweg, Bernd and Koblitz, Jens C. and Dechmann, Dina K. N. and Partecke, Jesko and Linek, Nils Benjamin and Volkmer, Tamara and Gregersen, Troels and Havmøller, Rasmus W. and Morelle, Kevin and Fiedler, Wolfgang and Wikelski, Martin},
  note={Article Number: 13}
}
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