Public Release: 

Lightweight GPS tags help research track animals of all sizes

PLOS

GPS tracking has shown its utility for wildlife studies, and now, development of light-weight GPS tags will allow researchers access to information about a broader range of small- to medium-sized animals than was previously available, according to a study to be published in the Dec. 7 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

While previous research was generally limited to larger animals that could carry the traditional, heavier weight tags, Mariano Recio of the University of Otago in New Zealand led a team of researchers that studied the performance of a lighter-weight model that can be used on animals that weigh at least 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms). The lighter equipment required to track these small animals sometimes does not perform as well as the heavier GPS devices, but the team determined how and where the smaller devices must be used to obtain optimal results, eventually allowing for tracking of animals across a broad range of sizes.

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Citation: Recio MR, Mathieu R, Denys P, Sirguey P, Seddon PJ (2011) Lightweight GPS-Tags, One Giant Leap for Wildlife Tracking? An Assessment Approach. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028225

Financial Disclosure: This work was supported by a PBRF Grant from the Department of Zoology and the School of Surveying at the University of Otago, a Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) Grant UOOX0904, and a Hellaby Grassland Research Trust Fellowship Grant. Mariano R. Recio was funded by a PhD scholarship from the University of Otago. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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