Climate change and coastal development continue to threaten coastal estuarine habitats used by flying migratory animals, particularly coastal birds. Tracking and addressing impacts for these animals across regions requires unique approaches and collaboration. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is an open-source, international network of community hosted radio-telemetry receivers and wildlife researchers designed to investigate a wide variety of wildlife movement questions. Volunteer partners host and operate receiving stations across the world that autonomously listen for flying migratory animals equipped with transmitters called nanotags. Researchers rely on the receivers for movement data for a diversity of tagged wildlife, including birds, bats, and insects. Despite widespread interest in wildlife tracking and research within and beyond the Reserve system, this technology has only been used sporadically at a few reserve sites to date.
In this project, a multi-reserve team will build capacity within the Reserve system to incorporate Motus and to support regional collaborations. In the long term, the team hopes to expand the Motus network to contribute to long-term monitoring of critical species along North American flyways. To galvanize partners and strengthen existing regional partnerships, they will hold a series of workshops that will include support for constructing and implementing Motus equipment in participating reserves. An ACE Basin communications specialist will also develop a signage template that partners can utilize to promote stewardship and education onsite. The team plans to share outcomes and lessons learned with the broader community via poster sessions, professional sharing sessions, and a webinar.
Project Lead Blaik Keppler (ACE Basin NERR) gives an introduction to "Building Capacity for Reserves to be Motus Wildlife Tracking Leaders," a science transfer project funded in 2020 by the NERRS Science Collaborative. The presentation was given during a virtual project team workshop in October 2021.