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A microcantilever sensor array for the detection and inventory of desert tortoises

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image of Applied Herpetology

We have designed and tested a portable instrument consisting of a small infrared camera coupled with an array of piezoresistive microcantilever sensors that is used to provide real-time, non-invasive data on desert tortoise den occupancy. The piezoresistive microcantilever (PMC) sensors are used to obtain a chemical “signature” of tortoise presence from the air deep within the dens, and provide data in cases where the camera cannot extend deep enough into the den to provide visual evidence of tortoise presence. The infrared camera was used to verify the PMC data during testing, and in many cases such as shallower dens, may be used to provide exact numbers on den populations.

Affiliations: 1: Northern Arizona University, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA;, Email:; 2: Northern Arizona University, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA; 3: National Security Technologies, LLC, Las Vegas, NV 89183, USA


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