Sensors / Feed

Want to talk about sensors that don't quite fit into any of our tech-specific groups? This is the place to post! From temperature and humidity to airflow and pressure sensors, there are many environmental sensing tools that can add valuable data to core conservation monitoring technologies. With the increasing availability of low-cost, open-source options, we've seen growing interest in integrating these kinds of low bandwidth sensors into existing tools. What kinds of sensors are you working with?


Lion collars LoRaWan

Hello everyone, we are looking for suitable lion collars for a project in Kenya. (20 collars)Vertex (Vectronics) was used before, but they can't ship to Kenya nor have...

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Hi Stephan!

I have no experience with this company but have you considered Africa Wildlife Tracking:

Why can you not ship Vectronic Vertex to Kenya?

Hi @BLCKiot 

I can't offer much advice sorry, but it made me think of the Moovement ear tags: 

This device also looks interesting (although it's on backorder), but could be cheap and small enough to incorporate into your own robust collar: 

Anyhow, sorry I am not much help, but I'd be keen to hear how you get on. 

All the best,


Hi Stephan,

Good to know you have considered the OpenCollar trackers. It is true that currently we do not provide the CollarEdge for new deployments on lion. We have found that some top units of the CollarEdge can get damaged when lion are mating. The male lion bites in the neck of the female and thereby damages the top unit enclosure. However, the CollarEdge units that are on Lion, that have not been bitten perform really well. We are now in the process of iterating towards a new design that makes the CollarEdge more robust and at the same time we are working on adding VHF, Iridium and P2P LoRa. We aim to have the first units ready by the end of this year.

Follow progress via our website and wiki: 


 or send me an email.

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How sensors in "Smart Eggs" are helping Condors

A really interesting article on how the Oregon Zoo's condor team have used sensors and 3D printed eggs to monitor the conditions inside California Condor nests. Because condors are still endangered, every chick is important to the species' longterm success, so being able to monitor nests for potential changes and more effectively replicate natural nest conditions in incubators is a big step forward for improving their breeding program.


Best Temperature/ Humidity Dataloggers

I'm after getting 20-25 temperature and humidity dataloggers for deployment in the field. I've considered iButtons and other single-use devices but would rather invest in...

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I'm using sensors from Inkbird. Various types available, including cable probes. Powered by AAA rechargeables. 

Hi Becky,

Have you considered the Kestrel Drop D2? They're significantly cheaper at $99, but not rechargeable. They take button batteries, but these last a long time with standard settings. They connect to an app on a phone, but can store large amounts of data before needing to be synced. The one thing to be aware of is that you should make some kind of rain cover to hang them from, because the humidity sensor is exposed, so if it gets wet, it will just show 100%... 



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Song Meter Micro experience?

Hi everyone, First off, what a great community this is! I only recently found out about it, and it seems like a game changer, especially for early career folk like me.I was...

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Hi Ollie, 

Not long back from the field, have a lot of catching up to do! Thanks a lot for this reply. 

If I'd fully appreciated the significance of that strange spike at 6Khz beforehand, it may have changed my mind about project design (larger deployment of Micro vs smaller of Mini). It's a bit of a nightmare, and basically makes it impossible to do/trust soundscape analysis... Luckily my main aim for this season was species-targeted, so the main issue I'm having is annotating training data without passing out when the cicadas kick in. I had hoped to combine this with soundscape stuff, but that's going to be a no-go with these recorders. I'll summarise my experience down below. I'm ashamed(?) to say I'm not really on twitter, but I'll get in touch.

Also, I had indeed seen your excellent guidelines handbook (after my initial query on this thread) and was singing its praises to Tom. It's a fantastic resource which I'll be referring back to for a while!



Hi all, 

Thanks again to everyone who commented on this. I've been back from the field for a week or so, just catching up on things. Here are my thoughts on the Micro for anyone considering them.


- Durability/waterproofing. One literally ended up underwater for 2 days after a rapid flood event, and it was still working. No fish or dolphin recordings, sadly, but it worked for the rest of the season - good to know! No humidity issues either, I used two of the small desiccant packets per recorder, and changed them each time I changed the batteries. I haven't used the SM Mini, but I would imagine that having the foam mic windscreen might actually be a disadvantage in wet environments, as it surely gets saturated easily and dries slowly, potentially changing the mic's sensitivity. No foam or external components = fewer 

- Usability. This isn't specific to the Micro, but the app is great. For anyone who hasn't used Wildlife Acoustics before, it's a definite plus. Love the flexibility to have multiple schedules per day (e.g. full dawn chorus combined with 1-in-10 for the rest of the day). Being able to do everything, including change schedule, from a phone vs a laptop is a big plus. Admittedly I haven't checked the latest version of the AudioMoth configuration app, but last time I used it, it did not have the functionality of the SM app.

- Availability! This might be a dumb one, but good luck trying to get an AudioMoth... Even the SM Mini is currently on backorder, as are several of the other main options.

- Sound quailty. For some applications, it's perfectly fine, comparable to AudioMoth, but see main 'con' below.


- Uneven frequency response. This is a big one. As @Oliver_Metcalf pointed out, there is a strange peak in the f response at around 6kHz. It's on their website, but I had not quite appreciated how significant it is. It's a big deal IF you plan on doing soundscape analysis (e.g. acoustic indices), because it biases recordings towards the insect chorus. A lot of my recordings ended up with clipping distortion as a result of insects (cicadas, katydids) and even some frogs (sp.) This is less of an issue if you're listening for particular species, especially if it vocalises <6kHz, like most birds and frogs.

- Battery life (a). Admittedly, I should have done some more thorough testing with this one, like @jkitzes' lab. Based on a quick test and estimates, I thought the SM Micro should get ~100 hours of recording using Eneloop Pro batteries. What I actually got was around 80 hours on average, which is pretty bad, and meant that a lot more of my time was spent going to change batteries than originally planned. It was in lowland rainforest, so low temperature was not an issue. Sample rate was 32kHz. Potentially there was an issue with my battery charger, but I tested batteries and they seemed at full capacity. I don't know whether there is some incompatibility issue going on...

- Battery life (b). I also used Energizer Lithium batteries (the best ones) on a couple of deployments. Strangely, this did not dramatically improve things! I got 90-100 hours. However, when I changed the schedule for one of the recorders from '1 min on, 2 off, 24/7' to '1 min on, 0 off, 5am-6pm', that recorder lasted for 250hrs! I don't know if this was just a fluke, or if something about power cycling differences between schedule types has a big effect. It shouldn't, but that schedule got by far the longest battery life. 


- Great for short-term deployments targeted at particular species (e.g. SDM ground-truthing, preliminary conservation monitoring)

- Probably better suited to temperate sites with less insect noise

- Test out different schedules to see if this really does affect battery life

- NOT good for soundscape analysis/acoustic indices 

Let me know if you have any questions/comments! Hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about these recorders.

Hi Lucy, 

Sorry! I was in the field by the time you replied, and have not been back long. I realise it's been months now, but are you still planning on using the SM Micros? If so, please have a look at my thoughts in the new comment on this thread. I would think in Norway, the stridulating insect issue would not be as bad as in the tropics. Depends on what you want to use them for. Battery life is still definitely an issue though, and even more so in low temperatures. Good luck, let me know how you get on, or if you went with a different recorder.



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Field testing of a radio telemetry system to be deployed in the sea.

Hello everyoneWhat kind of tests do you put aquatic tags through to get them field ready? Currently, we are testing a radio telemetry system. We are leaving the tags at 20...

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Oh, great link! Been doing marine projects recently and a big headache is protecting submerged electronics. I've kind of heard of many of those techniques, but great to see them collected all in one place and with first hand experienced commentary regarding them. 

Not sure exactly how your telemetry will be deployed, but if it's going to be attached to an animal in a relatively non-invasive way, you might check with zoos or aquariums that have similar species. 

I worked in that industry for a long time and we tested telemetry for seals, sea lions, polar bears and elephants. There might have been more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. This can help improve attachment methods and test how tough the animals will be on the equipment. 

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What are people using IoT for?

Hi everyone. I'm curious how people are using IoT in the wildlife community. Are you using local wireless sensor networks to a gateway? Sensors connected to cellular radios?...

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Advice on afforable LiDAR scanners for Amazon forest surveys

Dear allFirstly, what a fantastic group! I love following the discussions on this site and am a true believer in the power of the crowd so am hoping someone might have the...

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Hi Jeremy, 

With a quick search I've found the paper linked below. It looks like equipments such as Livox MID are sufficient for plot-level analyses, but not for individual trees. Also, it has performed worse in dense canopies and broadleaf forest, thus I believe we won't have a technology capable of doing what you aim for this amount of money (< $1000) in a few years from now.

I hope someone give us an alternative, though. :D




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Camera to follow wasps/attach on wasps

I am researching on the nesting on potter wasps in Bangalore, India. I have to follow nesting wasps to observe all its activities including where it takes rest at night. I am...

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Hi @Lars_Holst_Hansen  @tom_august 

The link to the video is amazing. Thank you for it. 

The wasps that I am working on, are solitary. So, basically it is just this one female that builds the entire nest. Like what you (@tom_august) mentioned, the best option would be to keep a running camera at the nest to record the whole process of nest building. Having one placed inside will be difficult because even if we do work out a way to have lighting inside the nest, the light might be detrimental to the developing larva inside. Hence, it is likely not to be of any benefit.

I am totally smitten by the idea of having a sensor on the wasp body to track where it goes! We could get to know how far it travels to bring the prey and also to collect soil. 

@ShwetaMukundan I just saw this thesis published on tracking bees. Maybe you could use the same method? 

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Monitoring airborne biomass

We are producing hard- and software for small scale research  radars to monitor airborne biomass automatically. We can distinguish birds, bats and insects through day and...

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Looks like you want to have a read of this thread: 

Our project in very short is, setting up a sensor network for monitoring airborne biomass, mainly insects, birds and bats in near realtime, and to develop a forecast model to be used for mitigation with respect various types of human-wildlife conflicts (e.g. wind power, pesticide application, aviation). Our expertise is mainly in radar monitoring, but we aim on add insect camera information to be merged with the quantitative biomass measeurments by radar.

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Computer Science student looking to work for wildlife

Hello everyone,I am a master student in Computer Science, with a specialization in AI and computer vision. I like to work with AI, computer vision, drones, sensors, autonomous...

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Great information! Thank you for sharing this. I actually have Masters in Zoology and have done some field work in Marine Conservation. Since then I have worked in Science education and eventually switched to Software Programming. My dream has always been to work in Conservation, however life happened and I had to give up on this pipe dream. I currently work as a Developer in a contractor role for the Federal Government. Would someone with my experience have an advantage in conservation Tech?

I think the real demand in conservation tech is for transdisciplianry individuals. If you look at all the stand-out people in this space they are people who occupy multiple domains that are traditionally isolated. These are people who talk fluently in computer science and ecology, for example. Not only this, they are also people who create and imagine in ways that intertwin ideas and concepts across these domains. Its these people, thinking in these ways, that lead to innovations that really move us forward. Some of these people started out where you are now, having crossed domains through their career and then seeing opportunities to bring these skills together in imaginative ways. 

I couldn't agree more with both of these comments tom! I'm reading hundreds (literally hundreds) of applications for open WILDLABS roles at the moment, and the ones that stand out are those where it's really clear they're following genuine curiosity across different disciplines. If you're in conservation, it's the evidence of interest in tech (courses, projects, things you're trying and learning yourself). For tech, it's getting into conservation - all the things you mentioned. 

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Download Now: A Best Practice Guide to Satellite Technologies for Tracking Wildlife

Zoological Society of London
The Zoological Society of London, with the support of WILDLABS and the UK Space Agency, are proud to publish this new guide to satellite technologies for tracking wildlife.

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Very nice! Looking forward to checking it out!
We had this comment come in to our team from @Redfoxmeek so I'm passing along the helpful resource: Hi Folks- Thanks for the manual, can I also draw your attention to...
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AI, sensors enhance wildfire detection

A pilot program in Oregon’s Willamette Valley will test how well artificial intelligence-enabled sensors can identify and characterize wildfires, which will help with responder resource allocation and boost community resilience.


Recommendations about online courses on GPS wildlife tracking?

Hi! I'm looking into online courses to learn about different techniques to monitor wildlife using telemetry, GPS... Does anyone know about online courses in which I could...

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Hi Silvesru, 

We're hosting a tutorial tomorrow about how to use GPS satellite tages to monitor giraffe - this could be a good starting point! If you check out our youtube channel we have a lot of other talks about selecting and using tags on different species. See the links below



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Commercially available connected audio sensors

Hi - can anyone advise if there is a commercially made passive audio recorder that can be powered by solar/battery and have 3g/4g connectivity - ideally with compression on the...

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I am not aware of any such connected loggers/recorders but they would be nice. 

The AudioMoths have been revolutionary in providing audologging at a low cost but they take a lot of "data muling" (carrying SD cards in and out of the field sites) and swapping of batteries.



Hi Lars, thanks for the response. We are using lots of Song Meter Micro's atm and they have proved to be resilient. Just need something which doesn't involve going on site regularly - but get the data off. 

Rainforest Connection's (RFCx) Guardian devices may be of interest. They are solar-powered and have connectivity options for Wifi, GSM and satellite transfer. They've previously been used for detecting e.g., gunshots or chainsaws (using edge computing) and then sending positive detections/alerts to folks on the ground. RFCx also hosts Arbimon, a free, no-code software platform that facilitates analysis of audio data as well. Happy to chat more if you'd like to talk further about it! 

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Solar panels in the tropics

We are deploying automated systems in the topics and hope to use solar panels, but this closed canopy in most places I'm seeing this as a challenge.Past the obvious: 'find a...

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Hi Tom,

I'm with Akiba, you have to test.  A collaborator has deployed solar-augmented kit in secondary jungle and some of them got enough light, and others didn't, so it can work.  The open circuit voltage of solar panels doesn't change a whole lot in dim light, but the current drops drastically.  So you would choose an oversize panel of the same voltage (or a bit higher).


I've been intrigued by this topic. Thinking about ways you could use drones or some kind of launcher to deploy panels above the canopy. Sadly I live in the great white north so I have no way of testing any concepts. Maybe even some kind of solar balloon that could float above the canopy. Interesting design problem.

Hey Tom,
Since the output is dependent on a couple of factors such as the solar irradiance of the place, shading from the canopy, the type of solar panels (mono, poly or amorphous) and orientation of the panels, etc, I'd suggest you use a software to simulate the different parameters to get an almost accurate estimation of the output. You can try PVsyst- it has a free month trial (I haven't used it before but I hear it's great) or any other PV software :)

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Interview for Technologies in Conservation

Dear Wildlabs community, my name is Nikolas and I am a Master's Student from Lisbon. Like many of you, I grew up with a great passion for the wildlife that we are surrounded...

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I'd be happy to chat with you if you wanted! My expertise is within passive acoustic monitoring particularly. The Conservation Tech Directory might be useful for you in identifying relevant actors within the space.

My original background is in ecology and conservation, and am now in the elected leadership of the Gathering for Open Science Hardware which convenes researchers developing open source tech for science. I am not working on a specific piece of technology right now, but am happy to contribute some higher-level views for your interview if that helps.

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New paper - Real-time alerts from AI-enabled camera traps using the Iridium satellite network: A case-study in Gabon, Central Africa

Sending real-time alerts from ecological sensors such as camera traps in areas with poor data connectivity is complex and involves integrating a large number of potentially complex hardware and software components. Our results demonstrate that these components can be successfully integrated to achieve reliable, near real-time alerts from camera traps under challenging field conditions.