eCite Digital Repository

A high-resolution panorama camera system for monitoring colony-wide seabird nesting behaviour


Lynch, TP and Alderman, R and Hobday, AJ, A high-resolution panorama camera system for monitoring colony-wide seabird nesting behaviour, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 6, (5) pp. 491-499. ISSN 2041-210X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2015 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12339


1.Obtaining accurate and representative demographic metrics for animal populations is critical to many aspects of wildlife monitoring and management. However, at remote animal colonies, metrics derived from sequential counts or other continuous monitoring are often subject to logistical, weather and disturbance challenges. The development of remote camera technologies has assisted monitoring, but limitations in spatial and temporal resolution and sample sizes remain.

2.Here, we describe the application of a robotic camera system (Gigapan) which takes a tiled sequence of photographs that are automatically stitched together to form high-resolution panoramas. We demonstrate the application of the Gigapan using data collected during field testing at a shy albatross colony on Albatross Island in northwest Tasmania.

3.We took daily panoramas over 5 days to estimate mean incubation shift duration, an indirect measure for foraging trip duration, in an existing study area. Similar numbers of occupied nests could be observed at a distance of approximately 100m in the Gigapan panoramas compared to ground-based counts (115 and 117, respectively). Of these, birds on 90% of nests visible in the panoramas could be unambiguously identified as marked or unmarked with a small daub of paint throughout the study period and thus a shift change reliably recorded. Gigapan-based shift duration was estimated using a novel instantaneous statistical method and were longer than estimates earlier in the egg brooding period, potentially revealing a new pattern in shift duration.

4.This example field application provides proof of concept and demonstration that the relatively low-cost Gigapan system provides the spatial advantages of aerial photos with the detail and temporal replication of land-based camera systems. The Gigapan system can extend or enhance traditional data collection methods, particularly for simultaneous observations at distance, of the behaviour of surface nesting colonial seabirds.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:albatross, digital camera, foraging trip duration, Gigapan, incubation shift duration, monitoring, nest attendance
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Alderman, R (Ms Rachael Alderman)
UTAS Author:Hobday, AJ (Dr Alistair Hobday)
ID Code:118522
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Directorate
Deposited On:2017-07-13
Last Modified:2017-11-30

Repository Staff Only: item control page