Ecological Research: Combining the Power of Pointing Dogs and Kestrel Weather Meters
Did you know that dogs have a sense of smell 40 times greater than a human's? With 300 olfactory sensors in their noses, a dog's sense of smell helps humans on many levels - from detecting missing persons to assisting scientists with ecological research. This is especially true for pointing dogs, which were used for hunting birds before the invention of guns.
While dogs have a keen sense of smell, the weather can affect the scent and the dog’s ability to track the scent during ecological research. Kestrel Weather Meters allows for potentially more accurate tracking and environmental analysis, keeping a dog's sense of smell as precise as possible.
How the Atmosphere Affects a Dog's Sense of Smell
The weather and atmosphere affect a human's sense of smell as well as pointer dogs. This is because scent travels from high to low elevation, getting swept away due to movement and air currents.
Environmental smells are a complex compilation of scents. The odors around us, including grass, trees, and animals, are mixed together while scientists conduct outdoor ecological research. A pointer dog can better separate these smells, which becomes even more effective when a dog is trained to hunt for a specific scent.
However, movement and elevation are not the only two factors contributing to scent tracking.
The Effects of Temperature and Moisture on Scent
Recent research revealed that dogs don't only detect smell with their noses, but also heat. This means that they can detect weak thermal radiation of animals. When scientists track animals for ecological research, this makes pointer dogs all the more beneficial for their discoveries.
An increase in heat can also make an object release more molecules into the atmosphere, increasing its scent. When it is cold, surrounding air falls, which can decrease the potency of smell.
When it comes to moisture (humidity), the increase of water molecules in the air will affect how a scent moves. The scent molecules will rise and fall, depending on how much moisture is in the air.
How Kestrel Enhances Ecological Studies with Pointer Dogs
Kestrel Weather Meters, including the DROP Data Loggers, provide a range of critical meteorological measurements that matter most when using a pointer dog - relative humidity, temperature, wind speed, and wind direction.
Waterproof and rugged, Kestrel data loggers and weather meters are built to stand up to the abuse of harsh environments while being quick to set up and simple to use.
Easily access current and stored data, view charts, and export data from your Kestrel Weather Meter or Data Logger with the Free Kestrel App. This feature enables you to store and share crucial data to assist with your ecological research endeavors.
Studying the Redwing Francolin
Putting Kestrel's capabilities to the test, The University of Kwa-Zula Natal in South Africa used the device to research the Redwing Francolin. Below is their experience:
"The Redwing Francolin is an indicator species for grassland conditions. Pointing dogs have an incredible ability to detect the presence and location of these cryptic birds in their vast grassland habitat; however, it appears that the ability for the dogs to detect the birds is affected by the prevailing atmospheric conditions. In my research to establish the relationship between grassland conditions and the abundance and distribution of these birds, I'm establishing the range of atmospheric conditions that allow for a high probability of detection. I use the Kestrel 3500 in conjunction with a D3 DROP to record all the relevant data. This research is for the fulfillment of an MSc Ecological Science at The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal."
With a Kestrel Weather Meter in hand, your research team and pointer dogs can make new discoveries and take ecological exploration to the next level. Be sure to explore our line of devices and find a suitable Kestrel Weather Meter or DROP Data Loggers for your needs.