Special Issue "Camera Traps in Animal Ecology"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2015).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Allan F. O’Connell
Guest Editor
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC), 12100 Beech Forest Road, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA
Interests: camera traps sampling; occupancy modeling; density estimation; wildlife surveys; predator ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past two decades camera traps have revolutionized the sampling of animal populations and improved our understanding of population dynamics. When used with robust statistical techniques, information collected using these devices permits strong inference about the status of, and changes in, the target population(s) in relation to their environment. From broad-scale, region-wide inventory and monitoring programs to intensive species-specific research, camera traps can quickly generate scientific information without animals having to be physically captured (increased safety), minimize the cost of conducting ecological investigations, and increase logistical efficiency. Increasingly sophisticated equipment and database software programs have advanced the collection, storage, manipulation, and analysis of image-type scientific data. When used with ancillary information (e.g., telemetry, genetic tagging), the potential exists for developing robust models involving animal movement and space use, not to mention density estimation. Knowledge of the world’s foremost ecological issues, such as biodiversity and climate change, has benefited significantly through the use of camera traps. The aim of this Special Issue is to compile information on the use and application of camera traps in animal ecology and to explore the analytical options possible to improve wildlife population management.

Dr. Allan F. O’Connell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • camera traps,
  • capture recapture,
  • occupancy
  • wildlife survey methodology,
  • detection probability,
  • wildlife monitoring,
  • database storage,
  • activity patterns,
  • wildlife monitoring,
  • computer-assisted identification
  • mark resight
  • population estimation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Density Estimation of American Martens (Martes americana) Using a Novel Camera-Trap Method
Diversity 2016, 8(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/d8010003 - 12 Jan 2016
Cited by 15
Camera-traps are increasingly used to estimate wildlife abundance, yet few studies exist for small-sized carnivores or comparing efficacy against traditional methods. We developed a camera-trap to identify the unique ventral patches of American martens (Martes americana). Our method was designed to: [...] Read more.
Camera-traps are increasingly used to estimate wildlife abundance, yet few studies exist for small-sized carnivores or comparing efficacy against traditional methods. We developed a camera-trap to identify the unique ventral patches of American martens (Martes americana). Our method was designed to: (1) determine the optimal trap configuration to photograph ventral patches; (2) evaluate the use of temporally clustered photographs to determine independence and improve identification; and (3) determine factors that influence identification probability. We tested our method by comparing camera- and live-trap density estimates using spatial capture–recapture (SCR) models. The ventral patches of radio-collared martens were most visible when traps were placed 15–20 cm above a feeding platform. Radio-collared martens (n = 14) visited camera-traps for long periods (median = 7 min) with long intervals between visits (median = 419 min), and visits by different martens at the same trap <15 min apart was infrequent (n = 3) during both years. Similarly, there was complete agreement among observers that clustered photos of un-collared martens were always of the same individual. Pairwise agreement was high between observers; eight un-collared martens were identifiable by consensus on 90% (54 of 60) of recorded visits. Factors influencing identification probability were directly related to the time martens spent feeding at traps (β = 0.143, P = 0.01) and inversely proportional to the time that elapsed since traps were baited (β = −0.344, P = 0.006). Density estimates were higher and more precise for camera-trapping (0.60, 0.35–1.01 martens/km2) than live-trapping (0.45, 0.16–1.22 martens/km2), providing evidence that SCR density estimates may be biased when capture heterogeneity is present, yet cannot be accounted for due to small sample size. Our camera-trap method provides a minimally invasive and accurate tool for monitoring marten populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Camera Traps in Animal Ecology)
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