Victoria University of Wellington
Understanding distributions of invasive mammals in urban environments using remote cameras and citizen science.
Degree: 2019, Victoria University of Wellington
Preserving biodiversity in urban environments is crucial not only for preventing local extinctions of native species, but also for educating the public about the importance of species conservation. Invasive mammalian species can have negative impacts for both people and biodiversity in urban environments. Understanding the factors influencing the distribution of these invasive species is crucial to comply with the ethical, ecological, and practical concerns associated with their management. Remote cameras are an increasingly popular tool for investigating the distribution and abundance of mammals. Yet few studies have used these cameras in urban environments. The time and effort required to classify remote camera data is the main constraint of this monitoring technique.
To determine whether employing citizen science could facilitate the use of remote cameras in urban environments, I investigated the engagement, accuracy, and efficiency of volunteers (i.e., citizen scientists) in classifying animal images recorded by remote cameras in Wellington, New Zealand. Classifications from citizen scientists were in 84.2% agreement with classifications of expert ecologists. However, accuracy varied significantly among species and volunteers. Aggregating multiple classifications per image and highlighting animal movement in the images improved the accuracy of citizen scientists. Additionally, weighting their classifications based on previous accuracy, self-assessed confidence, and the species reported reduced the number of volunteer classifications required to achieve levels of accuracy comparable to that of experts. These results illustrate that citizen science allows for accurate and efficient classifications of remote camera data from urban areas.
Using the classifications provided by citizen scientists, I then evaluated the suitability of remote cameras to monitor invasive mammals in urban environments. Based on data collected from forest and residential areas of Wellington, New Zealand, remote cameras detected significantly more European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) and rats (Rattus spp.) than tracking tunnels. Cameras, however, missed recording house mice (Mus musculus) on some occasions where tracking tunnels detected them, and vice-versa. Overall, my results demonstrate that remote cameras are a more efficient multi-species monitoring tool than tracking tunnels. Independent of habitat type, cats (Felis catus), hedgehogs, and mice were the species most frequently recorded. Data from remote cameras subsequently helped quantify differences in the occupancy rates of species between residential and forested areas furthering our ecological understanding of the distribution of invasive species in peopled landscapes.
To identify the underlying processes influencing the distribution and abundances of invasive mammals found in urban patches of vegetation, I also used remote cameras to investigate the influence of habitat quality, management efforts, interspecific interactions and seasonality on the occupancy and relative…
Advisors/Committee Members: Wittmer, Heiko, Hartley, Stephen.
Subjects/Keywords: Crowdsourcing; Pests; Introduced species
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
Anton, V. (2019). Understanding distributions of invasive mammals in urban environments using remote cameras and citizen science. (Doctoral Dissertation). Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10063/8037
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
Anton, Victor. “Understanding distributions of invasive mammals in urban environments using remote cameras and citizen science.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington. Accessed March 20, 2019.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
Anton, Victor. “Understanding distributions of invasive mammals in urban environments using remote cameras and citizen science.” 2019. Web. 20 Mar 2019.
Anton V. Understanding distributions of invasive mammals in urban environments using remote cameras and citizen science. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. Victoria University of Wellington; 2019. [cited 2019 Mar 20].
Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/8037.
Council of Science Editors:
Anton V. Understanding distributions of invasive mammals in urban environments using remote cameras and citizen science. [Doctoral Dissertation]. Victoria University of Wellington; 2019. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/8037