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The High Frontier revealed: Arboreal camera trapping’s potential to unlock the canopy’s mysteries


The High Frontier revealed: Arboreal camera trapping’s potential to unlock the canopy’s mysteries

Tue, July 12,  10:30 - 12:30 hrs, Room: 201


Farah Carrasco-Rueda, Tremaine Gregory, Jennifer Moore

Arboreal camera trapping has enormous potential to reveal the canopy’s mysteries, from kinkajou feeding ecology, to orchids pollination ecology and botanical phenology. This session provides a glimpse into the many questions this method can answer, while providing methodological guidance for interested researchers.

Camera trapping is a well-established method for monitoring terrestrial wildlife. However, the migration of camera traps up into the forest’s “high frontier,” the canopy, has occurred relatively recently, opening up access to the tropical forest’s most challenging sampling zones. Conducting observational studies on arboreal processes from the ground can be exceedingly challenging, but camera traps can monitor the canopy continuously and relatively non-invasively. An important part of animal activity occurs at night, but it is often overlooked and underestimated because monitoring the canopy from the ground is difficult without adequate survey equipment. Camera trapping has the potential to unlock some of the mysteries of fauna and flora in the canopy, having already contributed to range extensions and behavioral information, and interest in using this method is clearly growing, with the number of studies rising sharply in recent years. While many methodological tenets of camera trapping are applicable to both the ground and the tree tops, the canopy presents many novel challenges. Unlike sampling with a camera on the ground, which is essentially equivalent to sampling a plane, sampling in the canopy involves observation of a network of linear connections (branches and vines) in a three-dimensional space. There are also novel covariates that can influence detection probabilities, such as the tree species in which the camera is placed and its phenological status, the diameter of the branch on which the camera is placed or focused, the connectivity of the focal branch or tree to the rest of the canopy, and many others. Placing a camera in the canopy—from setting a climbing line in a tree, to climbing the tree, to affixing the camera to a branch—requires significant planning and preparation. Canopy camera trapping can answer myriad questions on a diversity of topics, including phenological studies, reptile behavior, mammal behavior, frugivory, seed dispersal, and pollination, to name just a few. This symposium brings together canopy camera trappers working in a variety of contexts on diverse questions. While unveiling the mysteries their canopy cameras have revealed, they will also discuss methodological complications and solutions for this challenging but fruitful research context. At the end of the symposium, the organizers will provide a summary of methodological lessons learned by canopy camera trappers present in the session and other researchers, and they will discuss the potential of canopy camera trapping to answer novel questions about this high frontier.

Climbing to new conclusions: Innovating remote camera technologies and approaches for the advanced study of nocturnal pollination in the canopy
Peter Houlihan*

Arboreal camera trap reveals the frequent occurrence of a frugivore-carnivore in neotropical nutmeg trees
Marie Séguigne*, Opale Coutant, Bouton Benoît, Picart Lionel, eric guilbert and Pierre-Michel Forget

Experiences in the implementation of the Orion Camera System
William Bonell*, Silvia Alvarez, Leonor Valenzuela, Carlos Saavedra and Juliett González

From the ground to the tree: how arboreal cameras can increase our understanding of primate distribution
Jennifer Moore* and Emmanuel Akampurila

The potential and practice of arboreal camera trapping: A 2022 update
Farah Carrasco-Rueda*, Jennifer Moore, Kylie Soanes, Diego Balbuena, Erik Olson and Tremaine Gregory

Conservation in the canopy: using passive recording devices to investigate habitat associations of two threatened primates
Jacquelyn Tleimat*, Sarah Fritts, David Rodriguez, Shawn McCracken and Ryan Lynch


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