Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers use GPS tracking to monitor crab behaviour

Date:
November 15, 2012
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Researchers used GPS satellites for a long-term behavioral monitoring of land crab migration on Christmas Island. The scientists used a GPS-based telemetric system to analyze movements of freely roaming robber crabs, which is the first large-scale study of any arthropod using GPS technology to monitor behavior.

Jakob Krieger holding a giant robber crab tagged with a GPS tracking device.
Credit: Jakob Krieger, University of Greifswald

Researchers from Jena and Greifswald used GPS satellites for a long-term behavioural monitoring of land crab migration on Christmas Island. In cooperation with colleagues from the Zoological Institute at the University of Greifswald, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, used a GPS-based telemetric system to analyze movements of freely roaming robber crabs, which is the first large-scale study of any arthropod using GPS technology to monitor behaviour.

This analysis focused on the coconut crab Birgus latro, a terrestrial crustacean living on tropical islands in the Indo-Pacific. Weighing up to 4 kg, Birgus latro, also called the giant robber crab, is the world's largest land-living arthropod. Its lifespan can reach 60 years. The study was carried out on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean which has a largely undisturbed population of about several hundreds of thousands coconut crabs.

Between 2008 and 2011, 55 male robber crabs were equipped with GPS tags which successfully recorded more than 1,500 crab days of activity and followed some individual animals for as long as three months. Besides site fidelity with short-distance excursions, the data revealed long-distance movements between the coast and the inland rainforest. These movements are likely related to mating, saltwater drinking and foraging.

The tracking patterns indicate path following as a main navigation strategy. Furthermore, translocation experiments showed that robber crabs are capable of homing over large distances. The search behaviour induced in these experiments suggests path integration to be another important navigation strategy.

The GPS tags were custom-made by e-obs GmbH (digital telemetry) in Munich in a limited-lot production. The devices can be programmed in such a way that they record GPS positions at intervals of one hour over a period of several months. The tag also contains an accelerometer to record movements in different (x, y, or z) directions and thus the activity of the crabs. Recorded data were downloaded by the scientists once a week via a radio link within a range of about 200 meters, so that the crabs were not disturbed. The devices send out radio impulses (pingers) in order to enable localization of the crabs via wireless connection using a high-sensitivity directional antenna. Similar devices were recently used in a study to monitor bird migration. The development of further miniaturized electronic devices and batteries should help to establish this method successfully for the study of even smaller animal species in the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jakob Krieger, Ronald Grandy, Michelle M. Drew, Susanne Erland, Marcus C. Stensmyr, Steffen Harzsch, Bill S. Hansson. Giant Robber Crabs Monitored from Space: GPS-Based Telemetric Studies on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (11): e49809 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049809

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Researchers use GPS tracking to monitor crab behaviour." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115133006.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2012, November 15). Researchers use GPS tracking to monitor crab behaviour. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115133006.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Researchers use GPS tracking to monitor crab behaviour." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115133006.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins