Earlier this month, Allan and colleagues published a paper in Ecosphere discussing the ground-breaking advancements happening in techno-ecology.
Techno-ecology is the term used to describe technology that is being used to help study species and environments. In the midst of this century’s current technology boom, the field of ecology has and will continue to be transformed.
It is anticipated that techno-ecology will revolutionise how we acquire data, as well as dramatically change the scale of data that can be collected. These new technologies fit into either one of the following categories:
- Supersize – the advancement of current technologies
- Step-change – using technology to answer questions we previously couldn’t
- Radical change – using technology to exploring new questions and possibilities
The paper highlights and discusses the use of bio-loggers, bio-batteries, swarm theory, advancements in 3D printing and much more. Wildlife Drones’ advanced drone radio-tracking technology is also contributing to this techno-ecology revolution by enabling even the smallest radio-tagged animals to be located across large areas by searching for signals efficiently and effortlessly from the air.
Of the other technologies discussed in this paper, one of our personal favourite is the supersizing of fuel cells due to recent developments in bio-batteries. These fuel cells can be powered by organic compounds from plants, like starch. Although they are still in the early stages of development, they have the potential to make fieldwork more accessible to researchers by allowing a continuous supply of fuel to power equipment. You can just imagine how convenient it would be to charge up your equipment by simply plugging into trees.
To learn more about bio-batteries and upcoming future technologies, we highly recommend you read on: Allan, B. M., D. G. Nimmo, D. Ierodiaconou, J. VanDerWal, L. P. Koh, and E. G. Ritchie. 2018. Futurecasting ecological research: the rise of technoecology. Ecosphere 9(5):e02163. 10.1002/ecs2.2163