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Monday, January 29 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY: WILDLIFE HABITAT: Influence of Spatial Alignment on Photographic Detection Rates at Remotely Triggered Camera Stations

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AUTHORS. Edward D. Davis, Western Illinois University; Tim C. Swearingen, Western Illinois University; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University; Jonathan L. Fusaro, California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Robert W. Klaver, US Geological Survey; Chuck R. Anderson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Jonathan A. Jenks, South Dakota State University; Christopher S. DePerno, North Carolina State University; Robert D. Bluett, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. Remotely triggered cameras can provide a cost-effective, non-invasive approach for investigating a variety of natural history and conservation concerns for species that are solitary and occur at low population densities. Trail camera performance is influenced by a wide range of factors, though no studies have rigorously evaluated potential sources of sampling bias (e.g., camera type, relative position of cameras) on overexposure (i.e., capturing the flash of one camera by another) events within paired camera station (i.e., 2 camera traps placed perpendicular to animal travel corridors) designs. We evaluated potential effects of camera type (Browning Recon Force, Moultrie M-880 Series, Reconyx HC 600 Hyperfire) and relative camera position (directly aligned vs. offset from one another [i.e., staggered]) on wildlife photographs recorded and overexposure events across 48 camera stations deployed during summer 2017. Total number of wildlife photographs varied by camera model and alignment (model × alignment interaction, F2,42 = 5.56, P = 0.007); Reconyx and Browning cameras detected more wildlife photographs at aligned camera stations whereas Moultrie cameras more wildlife photographs at staggered camera stations. Further, the number of overexposure events varied (F1,46 = 35.24, P = 0.001) between aligned (mean = 3.56, SE = 0.42, n = 25) and staggered (mean = 0.00, SE = 0.46, n = 23) camera stations. Mean percent overexposure for aligned stations was 5.63 (SE = 1.02, range = 23.91). We documented no overexposure events at staggered camera stations and no difference (F2,45 = 0.05, P = 0.95) in numbers of exposure events across camera types. We recommend that future use of paired camera stations for research, inventory, or monitoring of elusive species consider staggering the placement of cameras to minimize overexposure events of target species. Further, wildlife managers should consider evaluating seasonal effects (i.e., winter) on overexposure rates in paired camera station sampling designs.

Monday January 29, 2018 1:20pm - 1:40pm CST