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Version 2. F1000Res. 2014 Dec 19 [revised 2015 Apr 10];3:311. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.5931.2. eCollection 2014.

Ant-App-DB: a smart solution for monitoring arthropods activities, experimental data management and solar calculations without GPS in behavioral field studies.

Author information

1
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Greater Boston, MA, 01605, USA ; Department of Neurobiology and Genetics, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, 97074, Germany ; Department of Bioinformatics, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, 97074, Germany.
2
Department of Bioinformatics, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, 97074, Germany.
3
Department of Behavioural Physiology and Sociobiology, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, 97074, Germany.
4
Department of Bioinformatics, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, 97074, Germany ; EMBL, Structural and Computational Biology Unit, Heidelberg, 69117, Germany.

Abstract

Field studies on arthropod ecology and behaviour require simple and robust monitoring tools, preferably with direct access to an integrated database. We have developed and here present a database tool allowing smart-phone based monitoring of arthropods. This smart phone application provides an easy solution to collect, manage and process the data in the field which has been a very difficult task for field biologists using traditional methods. To monitor our example species, the desert ant Cataglyphis fortis, we considered behavior, nest search runs, feeding habits and path segmentations including detailed information on solar position and Azimuth calculation, ant orientation and time of day. For this we established a user friendly database system integrating the Ant-App-DB with a smart phone and tablet application, combining experimental data manipulation with data management and providing solar position and timing estimations without any GPS or GIS system. Moreover, the new desktop application Dataplus allows efficient data extraction and conversion from smart phone application to personal computers, for further ecological data analysis and sharing. All features, software code and database as well as Dataplus application are made available completely free of charge and sufficiently generic to be easily adapted to other field monitoring studies on arthropods or other migratory organisms. The software applications Ant-App-DB and Dataplus described here are developed using the Android SDK, Java, XML, C# and SQLite Database.

KEYWORDS:

Android; Arthropod behaviour; Data collection; GPS/GIS; Tracking; behavioural ecology

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