Camera Traps as Sensor Networks for Monitoring Animal Communities

R.W. Kays, S. Tilak, B. Kranstauber, P.A. Jansen, C. Carbone, M.J. Rowcliff, T. Fountain, J. Eggert, Z. He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Studying animal movement and distribution is of critical importance to addressing environmental challenges including invasive species, infectious diseases, climate and land-use change. Motion sensitive camera traps offer a visual sensor to record the presence of a broad range of species providing location – specific information on movement and behavior. Modern digital camera traps that record video present not only new analytical opportunities, but also new data management challenges. This paper describes our experience with a terrestrial animal monitoring system at Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Our camera network captured the spatio-temporal dynamics of terrestrial bird and mammal activity at the site - data relevant to immediate science questions, and long-term conservation issues. We believe that the experience gained and lessons learned during our year-long deployment and testing of the camera traps as well as the developed solutions are applicable to broader sensor network applications and are valuable for the advancement of the sensor network research. We suggest that the continued development of these hardware, software, and analytical tools, in concert, offer an exciting sensor-network solution to monitoring of animal populations which could realistically scale over larger areas and time spans
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-29
JournalInternational Journal of Research and Reviews in Wireless Sensor Networks
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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