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10 October 2003 Advanced infrared detection and image processing for automated bat censusing
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The Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) forms some of the largest aggregations of mammals known to mankind. However, little is known about population sizes and nightly foraging activities. An advanced infrared (IR) thermal imaging system with a real time imaging and data acquisition system is described for censusing Brazilian free-tailed bats during nightly emergences at selected Texas caves. We developed a statistically-based algorithm suitable for counting emerging bats in columns with relative constant trajectories and velocities. Individual bats are not identified and tracked, but instead column density is calculated at intervals of 1/30th of a second and counts are accumulated based upon column velocity. Preliminary evaluation has shown this method to be far more accurate than those previously used to census large bat populations. This real-time automated censusing system allows us to make accurate and repeatable estimates of the number of bats present independent of colony size, ambient light, or weather conditions, and without causing disturbance to the colony.
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Jeffery D. Frank, Tomas H. Kunz, Jason Horn, Cutler Cleveland, and Susan M. Petronio "Advanced infrared detection and image processing for automated bat censusing", Proc. SPIE 5074, Infrared Technology and Applications XXIX, (10 October 2003);

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