About Motus

The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus, latin for ‘movement’) is an international collaborative research network that uses a coordinated automated radio telemetry array to track the movement and behaviour of small flying organisms. Motus tracks animals (birds, bats, and large insects) affixed with digitally-encoded radio transmitters that broadcast signals several times each minute. These signals are detected by automated radio telemetry stations that scan for signals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When results from many stations are combined, the array can track animals across a diversity of landscapes covering thousands of kilometers.

This multinational system has its roots in the SensorGnome network which was piloted in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 a major infrastructure expansion was made possible through a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant to Western University, The University of Guelph, and Acadia University. This gave rise to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System. The system has grown steadily since that time and as of February 2017 over 350 receiving stations were active accross the Western Hemisphere.

The purpose of Motus is to facilitate landscape-scale research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory animals. It is a program of Bird Studies Canada (BSC) in partnership with Acadia University and collaborating researchers and organizations.

Full details about the Motus Wildlife Tracking System have been published in Avian Conservation and Ecology available here.


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