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PLoS One. 2019 May 9;14(5):e0216223. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216223. eCollection 2019.

Right on track? Performance of satellite telemetry in terrestrial wildlife research.

Hofman MPG1,2, Hayward MW2,3, Heim M4, Marchand P5,6, Rolandsen CM4, Mattisson J4, Urbano F7, Heurich M8,9, Mysterud A10, Melzheimer J11, Morellet N12, Voigt U13, Allen BL14, Gehr B15,16, Rouco C17,18, Ullmann W19,20, Holand Ø21, Jørgensen NH21, Steinheim G21, Cagnacci F22, Kroeschel M8,23, Kaczensky P4,24, Buuveibaatar B25, Payne JC25, Palmegiani I11, Jerina K26, Kjellander P27, Johansson Ö27,28, LaPoint S29,30, Bayrakcismith R31, Linnell JDC4, Zaccaroni M32, Jorge MLS33, Oshima JEF34, Songhurst A35,36,37, Fischer C38, Mc Bride RT Jr39, Thompson JJ40,41,42, Streif S23, Sandfort R43, Bonenfant C44,45, Drouilly M46, Klapproth M47, Zinner D47, Yarnell R48, Stronza A35,37, Wilmott L49, Meisingset E50, Thaker M51, Vanak AT52,53,54, Nicoloso S55, Graeber R13, Said S56, Boudreau MR57, Devlin A58,31, Hoogesteijn R31, May-Junior JA59,60,31, Nifong JC61, Odden J4, Quigley HB31, Tortato F31, Parker DM62,63, Caso A64,65, Perrine J66, Tellaeche C67, Zieba F68, Zwijacz-Kozica T68, Appel CL69, Axsom I69, Bean WT69, Cristescu B46,70, Périquet S45,71, Teichman KJ70,72, Karpanty S73, Licoppe A74, Menges V11, Black K73, Scheppers TL75, Schai-Braun SC43, Azevedo FC76,77, Lemos FG76,77, Payne A56, Swanepoel LH78, Weckworth BV31, Berger A11, Bertassoni A79, McCulloch G35,36,37, Šustr P80, Athreya V81, Bockmuhl D11, Casaer J75, Ekori A82, Melovski D1,83, Richard-Hansen C84,85, van de Vyver D62, Reyna-Hurtado R86, Robardet E87, Selva N88, Sergiel A88, Farhadinia MS89, Sunde P90, Portas R11, Ambarli H91, Berzins R84, Kappeler PM92,93, Mann GK31,94, Pyritz L92,95, Bissett C62, Grant T62, Steinmetz R96, Swedell L97,98, Welch RJ62,63, Armenteras D99, Bidder OR100, González TM99, Rosenblatt A101, Kachel S31,102, Balkenhol N1.

Author information

1
Wildlife Sciences, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.
2
School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom.
3
Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
4
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway.
5
Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, Direction de la Recherche et de l'Expertise, Unité Ongulés Sauvages, Juvignac, France.
6
LECA, CNRS, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France.
7
Freelance consultant, Milan, Italy.
8
Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
9
Department of Conservation and Research, Bavarian Forest National Park, Grafenau, Germany.
10
Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
11
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany.
12
CEFS, Université de Toulouse, INRA, Castanet-Tolosan, France.
13
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany.
14
University of Southern Queensland, Institute for Agriculture and the Environment, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
15
Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
16
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, UMR 5175, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier, France.
17
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Landcare Research, Dunedin, New Zealand.
18
Department of Zoology, Facultad de Ciencias de la Universidad de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain.
19
University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany.
20
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany.
21
Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway.
22
Department of Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all'Adige, Italy.
23
Forest Research Institute of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Freiburg, Germany.
24
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.
25
Wildlife Conservation Society, Mongolia Program, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
26
University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department for Forestry, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
27
Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Department of Ecology, Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Riddarhyttan, Sweden.
28
Snow Leopard Trust, Seattle, United States of America.
29
Department of Migration and Immuno-ecology, Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology, Radolfzell, Germany.
30
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, United States of America.
31
Panthera, New York, NY, United States of America.
32
Department of Biology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
33
Vanderbilt University, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Nashville, TN, United States of America.
34
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia, Laboratório de Ecologia Espacial e Conservação, Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Ecologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Rio Claro, Brasil.
35
Ecoexist, Maun, Botswana.
36
University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
37
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States of America.
38
Haute ecole du paysage, d'ingenierie et d'architecture de Geneve, Genève, Switzerland.
39
Faro Maro Ecoresearch, Departamento de Boquerón, Paraguay.
40
Guyra Paraguay-CONACYT, Asunción, Paraguay.
41
Instituto Saite, Asunción, Paraguay.
42
The Ronin Institute, Montclair, NJ, United States of America.
43
Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
44
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Lyon, France.
45
Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Évolutive, UMR CNRS 5558, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Villeurbanne cedex, France.
46
Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
47
Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center (DPZ), Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany.
48
School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Brackenhurst Campus, Southwell, United Kingdom.
49
Office of Environment and Heritage, Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
50
Division of Forestry and Forest Resources, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Ås, Norway.
51
Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
52
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, New Dehli, India.
53
Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, Hyderabad, India.
54
School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
55
D.R.E.Am. Italia, Pratovecchio Stia, Italy.
56
Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, Unités Ongulés Sauvages, Birieux, France.
57
Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
58
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, United States of America.
59
University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
60
Onçafari, Pinheiros -São Paulo, Brazil.
61
Wetlands and Coastal Ecology Branch, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Environmental Laboratory, Vicksburg, MS, United States of America.
62
Wildlife and Reserve Management Research Group, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
63
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit, South Africa.
64
Ministery of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.
65
Alianza Nacional Para la Conservacion del Jaguar, A.C. Mexico, Mexico.
66
Biological Sciences Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, United States of America.
67
Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Jujuy-CONICET, San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina.
68
Tatra National Park, Zakopane, Poland.
69
Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, United States of America.
70
The Cape Leopard Trust, South Africa, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
71
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique HERD Program Hwange LTER, Main Camp Research, Hwange National Park, Hwange, Zimbabwe.
72
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
73
Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, United States of America.
74
Département d'étude du milieu naturel et agricole, Service public de Wallonie, Gembloux, Belgium.
75
Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels, Belgium.
76
Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Instituto de Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal de Goiás/Regional Catalão (UFG), Catalão, Goiás, Brazil.
77
Programa de Conservação Mamíferos do Cerrado (PCMC), Fazenda Limoeiro, Cumari, Goiás, Brazil.
78
Department of Zoology, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa.
79
Instituto de Pesquisa e Conservação de Tamanduás no Brasil, Parnaíba, Piauí, Brazil.
80
Global Change Research Institute CAS, Department of Biodiversity Research, Brno, Czech Republic.
81
Wildlife Conservation Society-India, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
82
University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, Delémont, Switzerland.
83
Macedonian Ecological Society, Skopje, Macedonia.
84
Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, Kourou, France.
85
UMR EcoFoG (AgroParisTech, Cirad, CNRS, INRA, Université des Antilles, Université de Guyane), Kourou, French Guiana.
86
Departamento de Conservación de la Biodiversidad, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Campeche, Mexico.
87
Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Alimentation, de l'Environnement et du Travail | ANSES · Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife, Nancy, France.
88
Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland.
89
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
90
Department of Bioscience-Wildlife Ecology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
91
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Faculty of Forestry, Duzce University, Düzce, Turkey.
92
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit, German Primate Center (DPZ), Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Goettingen, Germany.
93
University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.
94
Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
95
Courant Research Centre "Evolution of Social Behaviour", University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.
96
WWF Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand.
97
Queens College, City University of New York, New York, NY, United States of America.
98
University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
99
Grupo de Investigación en Ecología del Paisaje y Modelación de Ecosistemas-ECOLMOD, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
100
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.
101
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, United States of America.
102
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Abstract

Satellite telemetry is an increasingly utilized technology in wildlife research, and current devices can track individual animal movements at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. However, as we enter the golden age of satellite telemetry, we need an in-depth understanding of the main technological, species-specific and environmental factors that determine the success and failure of satellite tracking devices across species and habitats. Here, we assess the relative influence of such factors on the ability of satellite telemetry units to provide the expected amount and quality of data by analyzing data from over 3,000 devices deployed on 62 terrestrial species in 167 projects worldwide. We evaluate the success rate in obtaining GPS fixes as well as in transferring these fixes to the user and we evaluate failure rates. Average fix success and data transfer rates were high and were generally better predicted by species and unit characteristics, while environmental characteristics influenced the variability of performance. However, 48% of the unit deployments ended prematurely, half of them due to technical failure. Nonetheless, this study shows that the performance of satellite telemetry applications has shown improvements over time, and based on our findings, we provide further recommendations for both users and manufacturers.

PMID:
31071155
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0216223
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Conflict of interest statement

I have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: SN is employed by D.R.E.Am. Italia. JAM received funding from Bank of America, SCS from CIC Schweiz, FCA and FGL from Consórcio Capim Branco de Energia, and PK, BB, JCP from Sustainability East Asia LLC and Oyu Tolgoi mine. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter our adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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