Searching for snow leopards

Post provided by Ian Durbach and Koustubh Sharma

Snow leopard captured via camera trap in Mongolia. Picture credit: Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation/Snow Leopard Trust/Panthera (OR SLCF/SLT/PF).

Snow leopards are notoriously elusive creatures and monitoring their population status within the remote, inhospitable habitats they call home, can be challenging.  In this post, co-authors Ian Durbach and Koustubh Sharma discuss the applications of their Methods in Ecology and Evolution article, ‘Fast, flexible alternatives to regular grid designs for spatial capture–recapture’, for monitoring snow leopard populations.

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The journey from designing to employing an automated radio telemetry system to track monarch butterflies

Post provided by Kelsey E. Fisher

Kelsey Fisher describes the motivations and challenges in the development of a novel automated radio telemetry method to track the movement of butterflies at the landscape scale published in their new Methods article ‘Locating large insects using automated VHF radio telemetry with a multi‐antennae array’.

LB-2X transmitter attached to a monarch butterfly.

Understanding animal movement across varying spatial and temporal scales is an active area of fundamental ecological research, with practical applications in the fields of conservation biology and natural resource management. Advancements in tracking technologies, such as GPS and satellite systems, allow researchers to obtain more location information for a variety of species than ever before. It’s an exciting time for movement ecologists! However, entomologists studying insect movement are still limited because of the large size of tracking devices relative to the small size of insects.

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10th Anniversary Volume 11: Updates on the ClimEx Handbook

Post provided by Aud H. Halbritter

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature in the Methods.blog. For Volume 11, we have selected ‘The handbook for standardized field and laboratory measurements in terrestrial climate change experiments and observational studies (ClimEx)’ by Halbritter et al. (2019).

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10th Anniversary Volume 10: Evidence synthesis technology and automating systematic reviews

Post provided by Eliza M. grames

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature on the Methods.blog. For Volume 10, we have selected ‘An automated approach to identifying search terms for systematic reviews using keyword co‐occurrence networks’ by Grames et al. (2019).

In this post, Eliza Grames shares the motivation behind the litsearchr search approach, and developments since the article’s publication.

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Anniversary Volume 9: Estimating Effective Detection Area of Static Passive Acoustic Data

Post provided by Hanna K Nuuttila

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature in the Methods.blog. For Volume 9, we have selected ‘Estimating effective detection area of static passive acoustic data loggers from playback experiments with cetacean vocalisations’ by Nuuttila et al. (2018).  In this post, the authors discuss the background and key concepts of the article, and the application of the article for assessing abundance of cetaceans.

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Tracking the fate of fish

Post provided by David Villegas Ríos

David Ríos tells us about investigating the movement of aquatic animals using telemetry technology and the new Methods article ‘Inferring individual fate from aquatic acoustic telemetry data’.

Photo by Carla Freitas

Aquatic animal telemetry has revolutionized our understanding of the behaviour of aquatic animals. One of the important advantages of telemetry methods, including acoustic telemetry, is that they provide information at the individual level. This is very relevant because it enables investigating the natural variability in behaviour within populations (like here or here), but also because one can investigate what happens to each individual animal and relate it to its natural behaviour. Knowing “what happens to each individual” is normally referred to as “fate” and it can take many forms: some fish may end-up eaten by predators, other may be fished, some of them may disperse, etc. Knowing the fate of each individual fish is crucial as it links ecological processes at the individual level to evolutionary outcomes at the population level.

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10th Anniversary Volume 6: Remote Sensing Editor’s Choice

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we are highlighting a key article from each of our volumes. For Volume 6, we selected Nondestructive estimates of above‐ground biomass using terrestrial laser scanning by Calders et al. (2014).

In this post, two of our Associate Editors with expertise in remote sensing, Sarah Goslee and Hooman Latifi, share their favourite MEE papers in the fields of remote sensing and biomass estimation.

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Squeezing the Lemon: Getting the Most from a Simple Acoustic Recogniser

Post provided by Nick Leseberg

Night parrot (Photo credit: Nick Leseberg).

Presenting the new MEE articleUsing intrinsic and contextual information associated with automated signal detections to improve call recognizer performance: A case study using the cryptic and critically endangered Night Parrot Pezoporus occidentalis, Nick Leseberg shares the methods behind the hunt for the elusive night parrot.

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10th Anniversary Volume 6: Nondestructive estimates of above‐ground biomass using terrestrial laser scanning

Post provided by Kim Calders, Glenn Newnham, Andrew Burt, Pasi Raumonen, Martin Herold, Darius Culvenor, Valerio Avitabile, Mathias Disney, and John Armston

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Methods in Ecology and Evolution, we are highlighting an article from each volume to feature in the Methods.blog. For Volume 6, we have selected ‘Nondestructive estimates of above-ground biomass using terrestrial laser scanning by Calders et al. (2014).

In this post, the authors discuss the background and key concepts of the article, and changes in the field that have happened since the paper was published.

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) calculates 3D locations by measuring the speed of light between a transmitted laser pulse and its return. Firing hundreds of thousands of pulses per second, these instruments can represent the surroundings in detailed 3D, displaying them as virtual environments made up of high density points. The main applications of commercial instruments in the early 2000s were engineering or mining, but their application in natural forested environments was in its infancy. Forest ecosystems are structurally complex; clear reference points used to register multiple scans are rare and trees move due to wind creating artefacts in the data.

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MInOSSE: all you need to reconstruct past species geographic range is in the fossil record!

Post provided by Francesco Carotenuto

A very important ecological feature of a species is its geographic range, which can be described by its size, position and shape. Studying the geographic range can be useful to understand the ecological needs of a species and, thereby, to plan conservation strategies. In ecological studies, mathematical models are the new standard to reconstruct the distribution of living species on Earth because of their accuracy in predicting a species presence or absence at unsampled locations. These methods are able to reconstruct the climatic niche of a species and to project it onto a geographic domain in order to predict the species’ spatial distribution. To do this, besides the occurrences of a species, the models necessarily require the spatial maps of environmental variables, like temperature and precipitation, for all the study area.

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