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Rory Wilson

Unlocking secret behaviours

Published in 2006clockTime to read: 45s
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Rory Wilson has developed a revolutionary device that employs mobile technology to track how animals, including humans, use energy.

locationUnited Kingdom

Energy is the currency of the animal world, revealing many aspects of behaviour that can be used to understand Earth’s creatures and improve conservation methods. The Daily Diary, created by zoologist Rory Wilson, a professor in the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University in Wales, is a lightweight electronic logger that can go where satellite-based tracking devices cannot, to observe free-living animals and record their natural behaviour, including where, when and what they spend energy doing. The tool is used by zoologists and environmentalists to study animal activity and needs in order to protect species ranging from penguins and badgers to leopards, as well as the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark, a result of Wilson’s collaboration with fellow Laureate Brad Norman at Ningaloo Reef, off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

Thanks to the Daily Diary, it is now possible to obtain information about animal behaviour that was not even imaginable a few years ago.

With potentially major benefits for mankind, the innovative device is also being used to study human behaviour in a wide range of fields, from improving the performance of athletes to measuring the effects of smoking. Other potential deployments include research on the effects of caffeine or illness on humans. Despite these uses, Wilson’s focus is to use the Daily Diary to enhance human understanding of the wild world and protect the many endangered species.

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