HOW TO AVOID THE CAMERA TRAP: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EFFECTIVE USE OF REMOTELY TRIGGERED CAMERAS
|Jody M Tucker; U.S. Forest Service; email@example.com; Jessie D. Golding, Jordan Heiman, Brent R. Barry, Katie M. Moriarty|
Camera traps have become a ubiquitous survey tool for many wildlife species. While there are many studies evaluating camera trap design parameters such as camera density or duration there has been far less evaluation of the influence of camera settings in study design. In particular there is little guidance on how two camera settings, trigger-delay interval and number of photos per trigger (burst), affect species detectability. As these two settings determine the number of photos a camera generates, they not only influence species detectability but also the time and labor cost associated with processing photos. Non-optimal trigger-delay or burst settings that are too low could result in inability to detect species but conversely, settings that are too high may generate extraneous photos that only serve to increase workloads for photo processing and data management. We analyzed camera trap data from California and Oregon to evaluate the influence of camera settings on detection probability and occupancy for an array of mammalian species ranging from common to rare. Our results provide guidance on how to optimize camera settings to maximize detectability of species while minimizing extraneous photos that can lead to unnecessary additional work in data management.