Document Type


Project Title

Validating an automated classification system for snake movement behavior: refining and extending the radio telemetry-accelerometry framework

Principal Investigator

Dominic L. DeSantis

Publication Date


College or Department

Biological and Environmental Sciences



Award Amount



An animal’s behavioral decisions, such as when, why, and how individuals move through their environment, are mediated by a complex interplay between internal (e.g., sex, physiological state, motivational state) and external (e.g., environmental conditions, predation, competition) factors. A detailed understanding of the causes and consequences of these decisions for many species has historically been precluded by methodological constraints. However, a recent wave of advancements in sensor technologies circumvents many of these traditional limitations and has spurred the emerging field of biologging science. Animal-attached dataloggers (or biologgers) give researchers the ability to remotely monitor an individual’s physiology and behavior in the field at resolutions and precisions historically restricted to laboratories. Accelerometer dataloggers, specifically, are small (< 1 g) piezo-electric (springlike) sensors that measure three-dimensional acceleration (upward, downward, and side-to-side) derived from subject motion, enabling interpretation of a wide range of movement-mediated behaviors. This project aims to expand on a recently developed framework for accelerometer monitoring in snakes, a group that has otherwise been completely overlooked in biologging applications. The proposed validation procedures are the essential first step toward translating these techniques to field applications, and, ultimately, improving analysis of the relationships between snake behavior and key internal and environmental variables.

Included in

Biology Commons