Camera trapping

The number of people using camera traps to study wildlife is increasing tremendously. During my PhD I developed some camera trapping methodology, which led to my current position as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå (SLU; www.slu.se). My work consists of two main projects: Scandcam and Beyond Moose.

Scandcam

Scandcam is a collaboration between SLU and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (www.nina.no). The aim of the project is to further develop methodology to study mammal communities using camera traps. We do this by utilising data from a camera trapping grid that was deployed to study lynx family groups in Southern Norway and by deploying camera traps to study specific questions.

At the moment I am working on the lynx detections in the Norwegian dataset. Our aim is to understand which factors determine the probability that a lynx is using specific parts of the landscape and how that influences the probability that a lynx is caught on camera. Hopefully, this will give us a better understanding of the factors that determine detection of animals by camera traps. We do this by using GPS track data of lynx from the same area in combination with different landscape variables.

Collared lynx in Southern Norway caught by a camera trap. Copyright: NINA

In the end, we hope to use the information gained from the Scandcam project for the set-up of a camera-trapping network in Norway and Sweden to monitor the changing mammal communities.

Beyond moose

Beyond moose is a large project run by dr Joris Cromsigt at the Department for Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies at SLU in Umeå (www.wildliferesearch.se). The aim of the project is to study interactions between different ungulate species in multi-species communities. I am mainly involved in using camera traps to study these interactions. We do this in two study sites, one in Northern Sweden and one in the middle of Sweden. Four species of deer occur in both sites: fallow deer, red deer, roe deer and moose. We are interested in how these species use the landscape and if this differs in parts of the landscape where only part of the species are present. My main interest is in using camera trap data to study the spatial and temporal patterns in activity of the different species.

I am in charge of part of the data-collection, data management and analyses of the camera trapping data in the Northern Swedish site. We have been trapping in this site for more than a year now and are looking into effects of phenology, food availability and hunting on ungulate activity. Here we also have a combination of GPS and camera trap data, which can be used to look at patterns on different spatial and temporal scales.

Collared moose as part of the Beyond Moose project. Copyright: SLU

Scope for more

There are many possibilities when it comes to camera trapping. The data from camera trapping studies can be used to study both spatial and temporal patterns in activity of different species. Therefore, this type of data is ideal for questions regarding interactions between species in both space and time. In the near future my aim is to use the two datasets described above to study predator-prey interactions in boreal systems. The image below gives a sneak preview of such a predator-prey interaction based on part of the camera trapping data.

Spatial and temporal patterns in activity of red fox and mountain hare in the end of winter 2017 in a study site in Northern Sweden. Copyright: SLU

Collaboration and MSc thesis projects

If you are an MSc student and interested in using camera traps to either study mammals for interesting ecological questions or to study mammal populations for wildlife management, you can always contact me to see if there are any possibilities for you to come to Umeå to do an MSc thesis project. I am also open to all kinds of other collaborations based on the topics described above or elsewhere on this website.