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How the IoT Is Helping Our Environment

The Internet of Things offers numerous applications and benefits for animals and their surroundings.
By Juan José Bello

The images collected by fisherman assist conservationists in isolating dugong population locations, the times of sightings, and migration patterns as the mammals travel and procreate. The Internet of Things has allowed conservationists to ensure appropriate environments for when dugongs are hanging around, and knowing migration patterns has aided in preventing local poaching.

Honey Bees
Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, CSIRO, has partnered with Brazil's Vale Institute of Technology to drive a pioneering research program to monitor honey bee movements and behaviors in Hobart, Tasmania and the Amazon in Brazil.

Why, you might ask? CSIRO is finding ways to improve honey bee pollination and productivity while researching the causes of colony collapse disorder (CCD), which affects honey bee populations worldwide and is among the leading causes of hive abandonment by worker bees leaving the hive to die. The partnership between CSIRO and the Vale Institute of Technology is aimed to take this technology to Brazil, allowing them to monitor and compare bees' behaviors in Tasmania and the Amazon.

How are they conducting their test? Up to 5,000 micro radio frequency sensors measuring 2.5 millimeters by 2.5 millimeters are being placed on the backs of bees. These sensors allow for geo-locational modeling and visualization in 3D. The bees' movements and patterns can now be better documented for a more focused understanding of CCD and its leading causes.

"The sensors operate in a similar way to an aeroplane black box flight recorder in that they provide us with vital information about what stress factors impact bee health," said Professor Paulo de Souza, CSIRO's science leader. "Bees are social insects that return to the same point and operate on a very predictable schedule. Any change in their behavior indicates a change in their environment. If we can model their movements, we'll be able to recognize very quickly when their activity shows variation and identify the cause. This will help us understand how to maximize their productivity as well as monitor for any biosecurity risks".

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