Ecological monitoring

Sensor networks are particularly useful for ecological monitoring since they allow researchers to study an environment without repeatedly disturbing it; once the system is deployed, for the usable life of the system, researchers can continue to monitor the environment remotely through the sensors' network capabilities. We worked with Professor Thomas Kunz and his team to develop and deploy a variety of electronic systems to study bat habitats.

Climate monitoring for bat habitats

Wireless sensor network system
The climate monitoring system for studying bat habitats is shown. The system consists of several Tmote Sky wireless sensor modules (bottom, blue), each with its own temperature, humidity, and light sensor; and a base station (top). The base station consists of a Stargate computer (top right), a Tmote Sky, and a lead-acid battery pack (top center).

Video monitoring of bat habitats

To assist the study of a bat habitat in Moore State Park in Paxton, Massachusetts, we deployed off-the-shelf networked cameras to record bat activity and to enable researchers to remotely monitor this habitat.

Optical beacons for tagging bats

As an option to help visually track bats—they're quite stealthy at night—we considered tagging bats with optical beacons. To avoid burdening the bats, these beacons needed to be ultra-lightweight (limiting the battery capacity and the complexity of the electronics).