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Data from: Diel activity, frequency and visit duration of pollinators in focal plants: in situ automatic camera monitoring and data processing


Steen, Ronny (2017), Data from: Diel activity, frequency and visit duration of pollinators in focal plants: in situ automatic camera monitoring and data processing, Dryad, Dataset,


Data collection on interactions between organisms and their environment has traditionally been conducted by on-site human observations, a time-consuming enterprise that could explain the shortage of around-the-clock observations of free-ranging wild animals. In this paper, I outline a time-efficient procedure to collect data on flower-visiting animals. The objectives were, first, to model diel activity rhythms by using cosine-based mixed-effects regression models (cosinor method) on data from an established automatic video monitoring system and, secondly, to test the use of a cheap off-the-shelf digital camera modified for automated monitoring of flower visitors. Two different model systems were studied: foraging bumblebees visiting focal white clovers, monitored around-the-clock (193 h) to model diel activity; and honeybees visiting thistles, monitored over a shorter period (5 h) to test the applicability and reliability of a new method for monitoring pollinators. The data were automatically entered and processed using R-scripts after manual filtering of the images, obviating the need for manual data entry prior to analysis. For diel activity in bumblebees, the model that gave the best fit included the 24-h fundamental period and one harmonic, a 12-h period to modulate the signal, together with temperature. The bumblebees were exclusive diurnal, with activity starting about 5 h after sunrise, peaking sharply in the afternoon and ending about 1 h before sunset. In addition to time of day, activity also increased with temperature. The off-the-shelf digital camera, Canon PowerShot®, with motion detection script, was triggered by every flower-visiting honeybee. In addition to recorded visitor frequency and visitor duration, it enabled high-resolution images, which could be important for species identification. Automatic camera recording is advantageous for close-up monitoring, compared with continuous video recording, because the latter demands more time and effort in reviewing the material. It could be used to study a range of different species such as pollinators, on-plant behaviour of herbivorous animals, cavity dwellers or cavity breeders. Moreover, the procedures for automatic data entry, data processing and statistical analysis for modelling diel activity rhythms could have great relevance for researchers using other types of camera monitoring systems operating 24 h per day.

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