squirrel detector design: part 1
First posted Dec 14, 2017
In the last NSERC Research Tools and Instruments funding round we were successful with our request for funds to build an 'automated population monitoring system' for our squirrel populations. The idea was to build an array of PIT-tag based sight-resight data collectors that we could set for long-term year-round population monitoring. We hope to use these to model environment and genotype contingent survival, movement, and reproduction across lifetimes.
After some slow and steady development and design we have almost finished a prototype and are getting ready for testing. Squirrel detector features include scales to measure squirrel mass and the amount of food eaten, an infrared beam to detect unmarked animals, and a GPS so that we can give the machines to people to move around properties and neighbourhoods without worrying about them taking coordinates. We will be able to open and close doors to the food on a schedule and restrict access to particular squirrels for experimentation. Finally, the machines will text message us data and notify us by text when food trays are empty. It will be an adventure getting things up and running but the data will be great we hope!
Nice and sturdy...