TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: California Forest Cameras Snoop on Wildlife

California Forest Cameras Snoop on Wildlife

Lisa Minter (
Fri, 10 Jun 2005 10:30:51 -0500

A 30-acre patch of forest near Idyllwild has been outfitted with
robotic cameras and other high-tech gadgets that spy on wildlife,
trees and even roots as part of a pioneering effort by scientists to
take nature's pulse.

Scientists sitting hundreds of miles away can remotely operate mostly
wireless devices, including a camera that swings on cables through the
trees, to watch bluebird eggs hatch, measure the growth of ferns and
study the impact of air pollution.

Devices in the outdoor laboratory allow nonintrusive, around-the-clock

"This is definitely going to change the way we do science," Michael
Allen, director of University of California, Riverside's Center for
Conservation Biology, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

"This is going to fill in the gaps of our knowledge," said Michael
Hamilton, director of the James San Jacinto Mountain Reserve where the
high-tech devices have been installed.

"You want to know when those hot moments occur," he said. "Is the
forest going to disappear in the next 50 years if the temperature
changes by three degrees? Now we have a window into those variables."

The information obtained could one day save lives and Earth itself,
Hamilton said.

The technology could eventually uncover ways to combat global warming,
track the deadly mosquito-borne West Nile virus, detect water
pollution before people drink it and predict the course of invasive
plants that alter landscapes and choke off water sources.

"The technology has profound implications," said Deborah Estrin,
director of the Center for Embedded Network Sensing at the University
of California, Los Angeles.

The James Reserve is a partner of the center, which was established in
2002 when it won $40 million in funding from the National Science
Foundation. Of that, $4 million went to the reserve, Hamilton said.

Sensors scattered throughout the reserve record temperature, humidity,
wind, rain, lightning and even how cool air sweeps in at night.

"It's a subtle but important change ecologically," Hamilton said,
explaining that the cool air can trigger seedlings to sprout.

Scientists at UC Riverside and UCLA can analyze the computerized data.

"That's kind of the downside -- we'll be spending too much time
staring at computer screens," Allen said.

On The Net:
Information from: The Press-Enterprise,

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Lisa Minter: "Fancy Math Takes on je ne sais quoi"
Go to Previous message: Lisa Minter: "Verisign to Manage .net Web Registry 6 More Years"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page