The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is an international collaborative network of researchers that use automated radio telemetry to track migratory animals. The Motus system allows for the use of small and lightweight tags (down to 0.2 grams), thereby enabling the tracking of small animals such as songbirds and bats. The Baltic Sea Motus network strives to gather researchers interested in this technique and to build a network of towers in the Baltic Sea region to enable novel studies of migratory animals.
Facts about the project
Project manager Jonas Waldenström Other project members at Linnaeus University Mariëlle van Toor Participating organizations Linnaeus University, Ottenby Bird Observatory, Country Administrative Board of Kalmar County, Lund University, Valsörarna Biological Station and other researchers in Baltic Sea region. Financier Sparbanksstiftelsen Öland Timetable 2020 and onwards Subject Ecology (Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences) Research group Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology Website https://zoonoticecology.wordpress.com/ https://motus.org/
More about the project
The ability to remotely observe wild animals by tracking their movements using small tracking devices has revolutionised the field of wildlife biology. The benefit of the MOTUS system is that tags are very small, whereas many other types of devices are too large and heavy to be put on the majority of animals. The smallest MOTUS tags are only 0.2 grams, which makes it possible to use them to study the movements of animals such as songbirds, bats, or even butterflies.
Each tag emits a unique radio signal that can be detected if it is in the vicinity of a receiver station. The more stations are located in an area, the higher the likelihood of detecting the animal. In North America, where this system was originally developed, there is a large network of towers. The Baltic Sea MOTUS network is part of an European effort to expand it in Europe.
The project is currently in the early phase. The core areas for our network are currently the island of Öland, SE Sweden, and the Kvarken region, Finland, but we hope to expand and connect with research groups across the Baltic Sea region to form a larger network of sites. On Öland, the network of antennas covers the southern part of the island and is used by researchers to study e.g. stopover ecology of nightjars (Caprimulgus europaeus), fledgling dispersal of Montagu’s harriers (Circus pygargus) and migration of yellow-browed warblers (Phylloscopus inornatus).