With so much focus on advances in battery development, we thought now would be a good time to talk about wildlife telemetry and the impact batteries have.
Increasing the body of scientific knowledge around animal movement is one goal most researchers share. This means getting data on animal movement. Electronic sensors can add incredible amounts of depth to direct observation and simple position reporting, but electronics require electricity.
When a researcher evaluates different wildlife telemetry offerings, two things should be paramount: The duration of the research project and the average weight of the research animal.
The duration of the project will tell the researcher how long the electronic device needs to operate. The average weight of the animal being researched will tell the researcher the maximum weight of the device. These two critical considerations will tell the manufacturer the maximum size of the battery, when an option exists.
A larger battery adds longevity to the research project, and/or allows for more frequent data collection. The trade off, however, is weight. Batteries with additional capacity are usually heavier, limiting the application to larger animals who can carry the added weight without significant or notable changes in their behavior.
If the wildlife telemetry device is solar powered, that adds indefinite life to the functioning of the device. (Be sure your research species cooperates!) With solar power, the weight of the battery can be lower. This can give the wildlife biologist significantly longer study periods, making the project much more meaningful.
While a solar powered device with a lower battery weight can allow for longer research project durations, the addition of secondary transmitters and/or sensors, a heavier battery can be helpful in low-solar availability situations. The balance is important to understand. Contact CTT to talk about your project.