[ASC-media] Media release: wildlife spy net

JCA Media jcamedia at starclass.com.au
Tue Aug 10 10:28:02 EST 2004

Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences 2004 Media Release

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


The private lives of rare and endangered animals, birds and plants are being revealed as never before through a technology revolution.

Prof. Michael Hamilton, an ecologist at the University of California Centre for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) is using networks of scores of tiny sensors to gain unprecedented insights into how wildlife behave and what they experience when humans aren't around.

Prof. Hamilton will outline the groundbreaking use of sensor networks for caring for the environment at an international scientific conference which starts in Melbourne today.

The Extensible Sensing System at the University of California's James Reserve in the San Jacinto Mountains of southern California continuously monitors the microclimate below and above ground, bird nesting boxes and animal presence in more than 100 locations in a 25-hectare area, he says.

To understand how wildlife behave and the dynamics of their population, we have to know the conditions they experience - and microclimates are never the same for small animals as they are for us, he explains.  

"Using these and other methods, I have monitored numerous rare species and communities within the San Jacinto Mountains for nearly 17 years, insuring that land use and resource management decision-makers incorporate this data into their projects and programs," Prof. Hamilton explains.

The powerful new technology, potentially consisting of hundreds or even thousands of sensors, opens to way for the monitoring and management of wildlife as never before, he says.

However as the technology matures it could, potentially, be used to monitor people, opening a range of public security, privacy and social issues, Prof. Hamilton cautions. 

The 2004 Sir Mark Oliphant Conference on Converging Technologies for Agriculture and Environment takes place between August 10-12 at the Duxton Hotel, 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne, and various research sites.

More information:
Prof. Michael Hamilton, UCLA
C/- Duxton Hotel, Melbourne, 03 9250 1888
or Richard Gill, CRC for Microtechnology, 0417 477 244      richard.g at microtechnologycrc.com

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