About the Series
Welcome to the third season of WILDLABS Tech Tutors, the series that answers the "how do I do that?" questions of conservation tech! Brought to you with the support of Microsoft AI for Earth, Tech Tutors is made for conservation tech beginners of all knowledge levels (and yes, even experts can still be beginners when it comes to tackling a new aspect of conservation tech or starting a new project.). Our Tech Tutors will give you the bite-sized, easy-to-understand building blocks you'll need to try new conservation technology, enhance your research, DIY a project for the first time, or simply explore the possibilities.
Taking place every Thursday, each Tech Tutor will present a 30 minute tutorial guiding you through an aspect of conservation tech, followed by a 30 minute live Q&A session with the audience.
What do you gain as a Tech Tutors participant? You'll leave each episode with the confidence to build on the skills discussed in these tutorials, and you'll have an ongoing opportunity to learn and collaborate with other members of the WILDLABS community! The connections made through the past seasons of Tech Tutors have led to real projects and results, and our third season is set to introduce you to even more new ideas and community members who are ready to start something new!
Can't make it to an episode this season? Don't worry! You can find every tutorial after it airs on our Youtube channel, and you can collaborate and ask questions in each episode's thread on the WILDLABS Tech Tutors forum.
Meet Your Tutor: Dr. Marcella Kelly
Dr. Marcella Kelly started camera trapping in 2000, back when cameras were all film based. She and her colleagues pioneered camera trapping for estimating jaguar density. She expanded camera trapping studies for other carnivores including tigers and other cats in Sumatra and Nepal, fosa and civets in Madagascar, lions in Senegal, a suite of carnivores in Botswana and the US, to name a few.
Broadly, Dr. Kelly is interested in co-existence ecology of large predators and ways to use new technology to gain new information on species that are difficult to study. Read more about Dr. Kelly's work here.
We asked Dr. Marcella Kelly...
What will I learn in this episode?
What are camera traps mainly used for and for what types of species. What are the types/brands of camera traps on the market. What are best practices for setting up remote cameras.
How can I learn more about making the right camera trap choices?
There are multiple websites that can help with this decision. But this decision will ultimately depend on what the purpose is of your study. Are you a hobbyist interested in obtaining nice wildlife photos? Are you are researcher looking to set up a new study? Do you want to just gain some information about what is in your backyard? The answers to these types of questions will dictate the types of cameras most useful for you.
These websites might be helpful for informing your decisions:
If I want to take the next step with choosing camera trap tools, what is the first thing I should consider?
- What are your goals?
- What is your budget?
- What types of species are you interested in?
- Do you need to secure cameras due to the potential for theft or animal damage (e.g. bears love to destroy cameras!).
- How often can you visit the cameras to replace batteries and SD cards or check for proper functioning?
Keeping these important factors in mind when considering the right camera trap models will help you select tools best suited to your needs.
What advice do you have for a complete beginner in this subject (someone who is choosing their first camera trap hardware or software)?
There are plenty of inexpensive brands out there to get started with. I’d probably start with one of these and play around with it. It is super fun and always great to get the photos back! It is surprising how much wildlife we don’t see out there.
Ready to learn with Dr. Marcella Kelly? Watch Marcella's full episode here on Youtube.
Shared by Tech Tutors Participants
What were all of you talking about and sharing during Marcella's episode? Check out the following resources shared in the live chat during this episode:
Papers and Articles:
- The Mostela: an adjusted camera trapping device as a promising non-invasive tool to study and monitor small mustelids
- Timelapse cameras used to study rattlesnake mating
- Searching for rare and secretive snakes: are camera-trap and box-trap methods interchangeable?
- Improving Terrestrial Squamate Surveys with Camera-Trap Programming and Hardware Modifications
- REVIEW: Wildlife camera trapping: a review and recommendations for linking surveys to ecological processes
- Recommended guiding principles for reporting on camera trapping research
- Are camera traps fit for purpose? A rigorous, reproducible and realistic test of camera trap performance
- Lemur paparazzi: Arboreal camera trapping and occupancy modeling as conservation tools for monitoring threatened lemur species
- Arboreal camera trapping: taking a proven method to new heights
- An Automated Light Trap to Monitor Moths (Lepidoptera) Using Computer Vision-Based Tracking and Deep Learning
Videos and Tutorials:
- WILDLABS Virtual Meetups: Roland Kays: Camera Trapping Overview
- WILDLABS Virtual Meetups: Sam Seccombe: Camera Trapping Hardware
Tools, Websites, and Resources:
- GitHub MegaDetector
- Google Collaboration on MegaDetector
- Wildlife Insights
- Wild Me
- TrailCamPro resource for camera trap model comparisons
To meet experts working in conservation tech and discuss resources and tools like these with our community, make sure to register for Tech Tutors episodes and join the live chat and Q&A!
You can also continue the conversation and share other resources related to this episode in our Tech Tutors forum here.
Learn more about our upcoming Tech Tutorials
Visit the series page on WILDLABS to find the full list of WILDLABS Tech Tutors.