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Sdsc Assists Researchers in Novel Wildlife Tracking Project

By UCSD News (CA)

July 8, 2014

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Researchers at the San Diego Zoo and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), have developed a methodology that combines three-dimensional (3D) and advanced range-estimator technologies to provide detailed data on the range and movements of California condors, giant pandas, and dugongs.

The researchers are using SDSC's Gordon supercomputer to create interactive visualizations that will make it easier for the software developers to explore the impact of algorithmic modifications on the quality of the solution.

"A key goal was to allow the experts to visualize the data directly on Gordon via remote access, as it is essential to minimize data movement and replication especially when data sizes grow," says SDSC's Amit Chourasia.

The researchers focused on the use of 3D technology for home-range estimators, which led to the development of a movement-based kernel density estimator (MKDE) to estimate animal movements. "We show that analyses and visualization using 3D MKDEs are more accurate and informative than traditional [two-dimensional] estimators in representing the space use of animals that have a substantive vertical component, such as those that fly, traverse steep terrain, or dive in the water," says USGS ecologist Jeff Tracy.

From UCSD News (CA)
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