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Title: Analysis of the Functionality, Value and Constraints of Using Camera Traps for Wildlife Monitoring and Ecological Research
Contributor(s): Meek, Paul (author); Vernes, Karl (supervisor)orcid ; Fleming, Peter (supervisor); Ballard, Guy (supervisor); Falzon, Gregory (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2016
Copyright Date: 2015
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Adoption of camera trapping as a survey method by wildlife practitioners is increasing at warp speed. The technique is now widely cited in the published scientific literature and it has quickly become an important and widely used method in wildlife research, wildlife monitoring, and citizen science. Camera traps have largely been developed as a tool satisfying the demands of a very large hunting industry in North America. Until recently, the needs of ecologists and wildlife enthusiasts had been second to those in pursuit of hunting trophies, and as such many camera trap models failed the litmus test for fauna surveillance. The magnitude of these limitations has not been adequately recognised by practitioners and has led to the adoption of the technique without full understanding of the constraints of the sampling tool. In this dissertation I aimed to highlight and resolve some of the pitfalls that practitioners face when sampling wildlife using camera traps. I provide a historical context summarising how methods have developed over the last decade and tried to redress some of the ongoing problems identified in the camera trap literature. To this end I provide advice and guidelines to help camera trap practitioners design studies, implement sampling and reporting on their findings. However, the main focus of my research has been to address the differences between camera trap models and brands, the biases of the equipment, the effects of placement and orientation on detection, the challenges of identification and species in photographs, and have instigated the development of computer assisted technologies that will revolutionise how wildlife researchers analyse camera trap image data. I have also used my research to provide constructive design advice to camera trap manufacturers to encourage better designs to suit the needs of wildlife practitioners. Recommendations are provided on what practitioners would consider the features of an ultimate camera trap design that have led to the development of two new models of camera traps, and modifications to existing models.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 050206 Environmental Monitoring
050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
050104 Landscape Ecology
Rights Statement: Copyright 2015 - Paul Meek
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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