Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps

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Remote photography, using camera traps, can be an effective and noninvasive tool for capturing the migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife. We deployed 14 digital cameras along a 104-kilometer longitudinal transect to record the spring migrations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and ptarmigan (Lagopus spp.) in the Alaskan Arctic. The cameras recorded images at 15-minute intervals, producing approximately 40,000 images, including 6685 caribou observations and 5329 ptarmigan observations. The northward caribou migration was evident because the median caribou observation (i.e., herd median) occurred later with increasing latitude; average caribou migration speed also increased with latitude (r2 = .91). Except at the northernmost latitude, a northward ptarmigan migration was similarly evident (r2 = .93). Future applications of this method could be used to examine the conditions proximate to animal movement, such as habitat or snow cover, that may influence migration phenology.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Capturing migration phenology of terrestrial wildlife using camera traps
Series title BioScience
DOI 10.1093/biosci/bit018
Volume 64
Issue 2
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Institute of Biological Sciences
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title BioScience
First page 117
Last page 124
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Brooks Range
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