Action D.5 | Monitoring of the Lesser Kestrel feeding habitat at local level and migration paths on global scale

The Argos system was created in 1978 by the French Space Agency (CNES), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), originally as a scientific tool for collecting and relaying meteorologic and oceanographic data around the world. In 1986, CNES created a subsidiary, CLS, to operate, maintain and commercialize the system. The same year, Service Argos, Inc, and North American CLS were created to serve North America user community. Today the two North American companies have merged, forming CLS America.

Currently, several other international space agencies also actively participate in the Argos system including Eumetsat (European Organization of the Exploitation of Meterological Satellites), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and others.

Argos system for Protecting biodiversity. Thousands of animals, including birds, fish and marine and land animals, are fitted with miniaturized Argos transmitters and tracked worldwide. Along with data collected from sensors, position information allows biologists to better understand animals’ behaviour: feeding strategies, breeding, adaptation to their environment, etc. Such observations provide the basis for conservation measures aimed at helping many endangered species. In addition to its ecological value, this work allows the international community to learn more about our environment’s natural resources and interactions between humanity and wildlife.

Application to 30 specimens of Falco Naumanni of the satellite system “Argos” for the study of the migratory paths.
Decisions on the modality to apply the sensors will be taken by the LIPU ornithologists and the other involved experts. It could be decided to apply them all together or to apply 10 sensors each project year, starting from the the second one. This system is more expensive than the geo-locators, but can be considered as technologically more advanced. The difference consist in the fact that the geo-locator collect the data within the data base applied on the animal and compel the researcher to wish in a recapture of the same specimen for the data download and examination. Despite the lesser kestrel fidelity to the nesting site, it is easily understandable how the geo-locator utilisation involves a certain margin of uncertainty for the researcher which is considerable reduced, if not eliminated, with the Argos system. The latter transmits the data in real time to the satellite which retransmits the received data to the ground users allowing the researchers to track the migratory path punctually and worldwide.
Thousands of animals, including birds, fish and marine and land animals, are fitted with miniaturized Argos transmitters and tracked worldwide. Along with data collected from sensors, position information allows biologists to better understand animals’ behaviour: feeding strategies, breeding, adaptation to their environment, etc. Such observations provide the basis for conservation measures aimed at helping many endangered species. In addition to its ecological value, this work allows the international community to learn more about our environment’s natural resources and interactions between humanity and wildlife.
Here below the steps through which the Argos system operates:
1. Platforms send signals to satellites. Transmitters are programmed to send signals to satellites at periodic intervals.
2. Polar orbiting satellites collect data. Polar orbiting satellites flying at an orbit of 850 km above the earth pick up the signals and store them on-board and relay them in real-time back to earth.
3. Receiving stations relay data from satellites to processing centers. Over 40 antennas located at all points of the globe collect the data from satellites. Data are either received in real-time by a regional antenna in the satellites’ path or stored on-board and relayed to the nearest global antennas. Today, most of the globe is covered by the real-time antenna network.
4. Processing centers collect all incoming data, process them and distribute them to users. There are two global Argos processing centers, one located just outside of Toulouse in South-western France, and the other near Washington, DC, USA. Once the data arrive at a processing center, locations are automatically calculated and information made available to users.
5. Argos users around the world receive data. Argos users around the world receive data directly in their office or on-site, depending on their choice (email, fax, web, cd-rom, or directly on mapping software). Once the data are received, they are often shared with the scientific community or by the governments or industries that use the data as important management tools.

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