Mammal Nocturnal ecology – Fully funded MSc opportunity

Nocturnal ecology focuses on natural patterns and processes altered and often dictated by the night-time environment. Many groups of animals, especially mammals, are primarily nocturnal. The nocturnal environment is vastly different from the diurnal one as it is subject to different environmental conditions and is under increased anthropogenic pressure, since earth warming is more pronounced at night, and the natural ‘illumination landscape’ is modified due to artificial or anthropogenic light at night. The nocturnal environment remains understudied, but this is rapidly changing with the advent of improved remote sensing techniques and sensor technology.

Here, we aim to assess the seasonal nocturnal activity patterns of mammals on Telperion Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga, using camera traps. We will compare different techniques and tools for measuring biologically relevant nocturnal light conditions, and artificial light. In addition, we plan to model and map the alteration of nocturnal activity as a consequence of environmental drivers, particularly lunar light.

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