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Technology Application

Studying Activity with Ultrasonic Recorders and Thermal Imaging - A Case Study on Bats and Mice


Radmila Petric, Faculty/Highlands Field Site Director, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill:


To detect, count, and identify small nocturnal mammals in their natural environment is challenging, but the use of full-spectrum recording and thermal imaging tools can provide insight into animal occurrences and behaviors across the landscape. Bats and mice produce species-specific calls in the ultrasonic range, and bat calls can be broadly categorized into echolocation, social, and feeding calls. Thermal imaging cameras can quickly detect warm-bodied animals, and we can more accurately measure individual behaviors than using conventional survey techniques. Ultrasonic recording coupled with thermal imaging is a more comprehensive sampling method used for answering fundamental questions related to patterns of animal activity. Not only are these methods useful for bats and mice but they can be applied to other animal groups as well.

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