Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2006
Publication Date: 11/1/2006
Citation: Clark, P.E., Johnson, D.E., Harris, N., and Thomas, D.R. 2006. Low-Cost Radiation Shielding for Use in Mapping the Thermal Environments of Rangeland Animals. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 59:674-679.
Interpretive Summary: Mapping air temperature variations across a rangeland landscape may be helpful in repdicting animal distribution patterns. Many temperature sampling points are required to effectively map air temperature in complex terrain. Accurate air temperature measurement requires shiedling from solar radiation but commercial shields are excessively expensive and fragile. Two styles of radiation shields were constructed and tested as a low cost and effective alternative to commercial shielding. Construction and deployment of either shielding style reduced the cost, time, and labor required to collect accurate air temperature data for thermal mapping of extensive landscapes with complex terrain.
Technical Abstract: Variations in the thermal environment influences how an animal utilizes a landscape. Mapping spatial and temporal air temperature patterns may be helpful in predicting animal distribution patterns. Many sampling points are required to effectively map air temperature across extensive areas with complex topography. Self-contained air temperature dataloggers are available but these require shielding from solar radiation. Commercial shields are excessively expensive and fragile. Two styles of radiation shields were constructed as a low cost and effective alternative to commercially-available shielding. Both the vented-cylinder and U-shaped shields allowed collection of more accurate air temperature data than an unshielded temperature logger. The 95 percent confidence interval for temperature differences between the vented-cylinder shield and that from a reference instrument was - 3.03 to 3.57 0C. Temperatures collected with the U-shape shield exhibited a 95 percent confidence interval of -2.34 to 2.70 oC. Both shield styles mounted on a swiveling mouting system to avoid animal damage. Materials costs for constructing either style of shield including the mouting system were less than $8.00 contrasted to more than $75 commercial shielding. Construction of the shields presented here would reduce the cost, time, and labor required to collect accurate air temperature data for thermal mapping of extensive landscapes.