Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A low-cost, do-it-yourself data-logging system to record animal activity in laboratory and small-enclosure experiments

P. G. Story A C and B. Walker B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Australian Plague Locust Commission, GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

B 14 Waratah Avenue, Salamander Bay, NSW 2317, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: paul.story@agriculture.gov.au

Australian Mammalogy 39(2) 152-160 https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16001
Submitted: 5 January 2016  Accepted: 11 August 2016   Published: 7 October 2016

Abstract

With the increasing cost of prepackaged research equipment and restrictions on research budgets, there is a growing need for inexpensive solutions for data collection in laboratory and small enclosures across a range of research topics investigating responses of animals to experimental parameters. We present here a low-cost, modular passive infrared sensor and data-logging system for use in experiments evaluating animal activity and behaviour, easily assembled in a laboratory setting. This system comprises accessible kit-based components purchased from popular electronics suppliers. We present the hardware configuration, software coding, build of materials, circuit diagram and a sample dataset demonstrating that the system collects reliable data that is easily downloaded either through any terminal program, directly from the unit or via an SD card. It is hoped that this ‘freeware’ approach to activity-monitoring equipment will enable laboratory and enclosure-based research to be undertaken more cost-effectively.

Additional keywords: activity, Arduino, dunnart, laboratory and enclosure experimentation, passive infrared sensor, PIR.


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