Vanessa Hull, a doctoral student at Michigan State University's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, has been living off and on for seven years in China's Wolong Nature Reserve, most recently tracking pandas that she has outfitted with GPS collars. Over the years, she started noticing that uninvited guests had apparently been serving themselves at the bamboo buffet--and they were eating like horses. Find out more in this discovery.
Credit: Sue Nichols, Michigan State University Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
Big seeds produced by tropical trees such as black palms were probably once ingested and then left whole by huge mammals called gomphotheres. Gomphotheres weighed more than a ton and dispersed the seeds over large distances. But these neotropical creatures disappeared more than 10,000 years ago. So why aren't large-seeded plants also extinct? By attaching tiny radio transmitters to more than 400 seeds, Patrick Jansen, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and Wageningen University, and colleagues found that 85 percent of the seeds were buried in caches by agoutis. Read more in this news release.
Credit: Christian Ziegler
The Division of Biological Infrastructure in NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences empowers biological discovery by supporting the development and enhancement of biological resources, human capital and centers. These investments underpin advances in all areas of biological research.
Modern technologies like global tracking systems and ultraminiaturized sensors now provide researchers with intimate glimpses of rarely seen behaviors of wild animals.
August 18, 2014
Bio-logging collar reveals unprecedented detail about California mountain lions
Data amounts to an electronic diary of the wild cat's reactions and activities, as well as movements
How do you get to know a free-roaming California mountain lion? Very carefully!
Actually, you may never be able to spend time on the trail with a wild cat, but if the cat is wearing the new high tech collar designed by University of California, Santa Cruz, researchers, you'll find out a lot more about what you're missing. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), wildlife ecologist Chris Wilmers and his team developed the collar to help them learn more about the behavior, metabolism and habitat preferences of mountain lions.
It's a GPS tracker, and so much more! In addition to its location, the collar records the animal's behavior and physiology in unprecedented detail. For example, the researchers try to determine in real time whether the animal being tracked is walking, running, stalking or pouncing. The researchers are learning more about how the cats respond to different stimuli, such as climate, and interactions with other animals, and changes in the landscape created by development.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #0963022, ANIMA (Accelerometer Network Integrator for Mobile Animals), a New Instrument Package for Integrating Behavior, Physiology and Ecology of Wild Mammals.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.