Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Vermont
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Balantic, C., and T. Donovan. 2020. AMMonitor: Remote monitoring of biodiversity in an adaptive framework with R. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11:869-877. DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13397


1. Ecological research and management programs are increasingly using autonomous monitoring units (AMUs) to collect large volumes of acoustic and/or photo data to address pressing management objectives or research goals. The data management requirements of an AMU-based monitoring effort are often overwhelming, with a considerable amount of processing to translate raw data into models and analyses that have research and management utility.

2. We created the r package AMMonitor to simplify the process of moving from remotely collected data to analysis and results, using a comprehensive SQLite database for data management that tracks all components of a remote monitoring program. This framework enables the tracking of analyses and research/ management objectives through time.

3. We illustrate the AMMonitor approach with the example of evaluating an occurrence-based management objective for a target species. First, we provide an overview of the database and data management approach. Next, we illustrate a few available workflows: temporally adaptive sampling, automated detection of species sounds from acoustic recordings and aggregation of automated detections into an encounter history for use in an occupancy analysis, the outcome of which can be analysed with respect to the motivating management objective.

4. Without a comprehensive framework for efficiently moving from raw remote monitoring data collection to results and analysis, monitoring programs are limited in their capacity to systematically characterize ecological processes and inform management decisions through time. AMMonitor provides an option for such a framework. Code, comprehensive documentation and step-by-step examples are available online at