Mobile transects are a great tool for bat researchers. Repeating the same transect route month over month or year over year can highlight trends in bat populations. For instance, are bats appearing earlier in the year due to the warming climate? Do changing forest conditions affect where bats are found?
Like static location recording, mobile transects have pros and cons.
Mobile Transects Pros:
- Particularly good at sampling large areas quickly
- Low equipment investment.
Mobile Transects Cons:
- Can introduce spatial sample biases
- Manmade items near roads (ex: lights) can bias species detected
- Are labor intensive.
Static location recording Pros:
- Unattended recording allows for longer term data capture
- Deployment locations can be chosen based on factors other than where roads or paths are available
Static location recording Cons:
- More detectors are needed for longer periods increasing equipment costs
- Access to deployment sites can be difficult or expensive
- Possible damage or theft of equipment
Mounting the Echo Meter Touch to your car:
Combining mobile transects with traditional static location recording can give researchers the best of both types of surveys. When Wildlife Acoustics created the Echo Meter Touch 2, we knew it would be the best and most economical attended bat detector available. Customers all over the world agreed and use the tool extensively to listen to and record bat echolocation calls on their iOS or Android device. However, soon after the Echo Meter Touch 2 was released we started receiving requests for a way to attach the ultrasonic module to a vehicle to allow it to be used for mobile transects. A car mount was created and, when used with a compatible extension cable, is a great solution for vehicle based mobile transect work.
How to Use the Echo Meter Touch 2 for Transects
Once the researcher has mounted the Echo Meter Touch 2 ultrasonic module into the car mount (a very simple process) and secured the mount to the roof of the vehicle, she can route the extension cable into the vehicle and attach it to a compatible iOS or Android device. While driving the planned route, the Echo Meter Touch application will automatically record bat passes as they occur and tag them with the current location (latitude and longitude). At the end of the transect the researcher can export the recordings from the mobile device to her computer for further analysis using Kaleidoscope or other desktop software. The Echo Meter Touch app will also automatically generate and export a .kml file which can be opened in Google Earth showing the route taken and where bats were recorded.
The best solution
The Echo Meter Touch 2 paired with the optional car mount and a compatible extension cable is the best and most economical solution for performing vehicle based transects. Hearing the bat calls in real time keeps the driver engaged and allows her to know that she is capturing great recordings.
For more information about mobile transects and the EMT 2, contact our support