Daily Diary (DD)
SMART uses the Daily Diary extensively in work on free-living animals. The Daily Diary (DD) is a tag that records information in multiple channels at very high rates (multiple times per second). Information recorded varies according to the animal wearing the tag but always consists of at least; acceleration (in three axes), magnetic field strength (also in 3 axes), pressure and temperature. Other sensors involve measurement of speed, light, relative humidity etc. The DD allows people using it to elucidate four important elements of wild animal biology; (1) animal movement (determined primarily by dead-reckoning) (2) animal behaviour (determined by analysing acceleration and compass data) (3) animal energy costs (determined using the dynamic component of the acceleration data) and (4) the environmental conditions experienced by the animal is it moves through the environment. This tag is often used in conjunction with GPS or VHF tags to allow the position-determining capacity of the tag to be corrected for drift. Please see Paper by Rory Wilson Wilson et al on Use of a Daily Diary on Animals
Daily Diary (marine version)
The team regularly uses simple accelerometer tags which are attached to animals to record acceleration in three orthogonal axes. These units record total body acceleration, multiple times per second, which can be separated into (i) static acceleration (that caused by gravity) from which animal posture can be derived and (ii) dynamic acceleration (that caused by the movement of the animal itself), which can be used together with the static acceleration to help determine behaviour or used by itself to help determine the energy used by the animal to perform a particular behaviour. Please see paper by Shepard et al on Identification of animal movement patterns .
Accelerometer tag including barometric and temperature sensors
SMART routinely uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to determine the space use and movements of wild animals ranging from turtles to vultures. This system is built into tags which are placed on animals. These tags calculate their own position on the planet (to within a few metres) by using signals emitted by satellites overhead. This information is generally stored on the tag. The GPS tags used by SMART are similar, in essence, to the GPS found in many cars.
Loggerhead turtle equipped with Fast-loc GPS
Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTT)
Some of SMART's studies use Platform Terminal Transmitters (PTTs) to determine the location of their study animals, particularly if these animals roam widely and are difficult to recover. These tags transmit information from the animal to satellites orbiting the earth which then calculate the animal position (generally to within a few hundred metres) before relaying this information down to receiving stations on earth. These earth-based stations send the data on animal position (and sometimes other variables) to the scientists by email. Please see Paper by Graeme Hays et al on Breeding Periodicity for Male Sea Turtles and Paper by Graeme Hays et al on Ontogenetic development of migration
Leatherback turtle equipped with PTT
SMART gathers large amounts of intractable data using their tags and uses special, Swansea University Computing Department developed software to help deal with it.