Sensing and Sensors

Planet Earth: Episode 1: Pole to Pole

  • Anthropomorphism (representing animals/objects as if they were human)
    • birds of paradise (deflated)
    • baboons in water
    • elephants?
  • Competition and cooperation.
    • predators
      • wolf, shark, hunting dogs
      • two kills and a miss, what about this choice?
    • cooperation/system thinking
      • sun powers everything
      • trees needed to provide eco-system to feed animals
      • animal trails helps movement of fertilizing water
      • dogs share, elephants encourage
  • Stress on photogenic
    • babies, cute animals
  • time lapse – meaning? pros and cons

Sensor Projects

  • Icarus Initiative
    • satellite observation of migration of small animals (birds, bats, insects)
      • understand the propagation of pathogens through their hosts
      • to preserve ecosystem services or
      • to predict natural disasters through intelligent sensors of animals.
      • experimental system to be installed on the Russian module of the International Space Station (ISS) June 2017
  • Marine Animals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole
    • guardian news story on Elephant Seal Trackers – Sea Mammal Research Unit – St Andrews University
    • mammals in southern ocean
      • southern ocean fundamental role in regulating climate
      • attempts to model effect of warming on the ocean hampered by lack of data
      • ocean mammals help supply data
      • elephant seals dive long and deep
    • over 500,000 temperature and salinity measurements taken since 2004
    • study the animals BUT animals also become sensors for study of the sea

  • The Plastic Tide 
    • drone flying over UK coast line to detect plastic
    • learning algorithm being trained to detect plastic autonomously
  • Harvard’s Experimental Forest – source IEEE Spectrum
    • long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, funded by the National Science Foundation, started 1988
    • 1000s of sensor detect entertwined connections of soil, atmosphere, water, micro-organisms, plants, animals for example:
      • air and soil temperatures, humidity, precipitation, and solar radiation (collected every second)
      • level and flow of every stream is monitored by pressure meters
      • three Raspberry Pi–powered acoustic sensors, detect bird/insect song
      • “phenocams” time-lapse cameras detect natural cycle (first buds, leaves etc)
      • thermal cams follow tree response to heat stress
      • 6 eddyflux towers detect movement of gas in air several times a second (carbon dioxide, water vapour, ozone and oxides of nitrogen.
      • experiments (heat specific area of forest and watch results)
    • purpose: to allow scientists to formulate strategies to mitigate the worst effects of climate change for forests, woods, lakes, grasslands, and farms around the globe
  • The Bee All and End All, BBC World Service Podcast
  • How tech is changing animal conservation Guardian Podcast, 2/24/17

Apps for Citizen Science

 “… how environmental processes and relationships are not only increasingly studied through computational technology, but also seen to be analogous to computational processes.  Read through devices such as sensors and satellites, and assembled into networks and code, ecology is now a shifting entity that typically becomes visible – and manageable – as information.” Jennifer Gabrys, Program Earth, p 15