Synopsis

Camera-trapping is an increasingly common conservation survey tool used to detect species presence and estimate their density. Given the costs and challenges of conducting surveys, and the conservation management implications of the results, it is important that survey results are accurate. Because top order predators are both wide ranging and almost always of conservation concern, they are the subject of numerous camera-trap survey attempts across their projected range. However, there is considerable variation in protocols, and a lack of consensus on best-practice.

Aims

This project will investigate whether there is an optimal camera-trap array, using near continuous GPS data from five African large carnivores (lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyaena, and African wild dog), and recording their ‘detection’ in a range of virtual camera-trap survey arrays. You will also assess any effect of season and habitat on detection probability.

Student Benefits

This is a desk-based study. You will conduct research on movement ecology and inform the survey efforts of conservation ecologists in the field. Through this project you'll learn how to:

 

Carry out sophisticated data manipulation and extraction

Carry out sophisticated statistical analysis

Write a key scientific paper with real-world impact