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Monitoring of microclimate conditions in underground systems of mammals

Long-term research of monitoring of underground life of mammals in tropical Africa. Faculty of Science University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice.

In the Faculty of Science University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice we are researching the life of underground mammals. The subject of our research interest are mainly blesmols (Bathyergidae) and spalacids (Spalacidae) from tropical Africa and blinds (Spalacidae) inhabiting Eurasia.

These unique rodents inhabit large, vertically stratified labyrinth of underground tunnels and an essential part of life therefore spends in conditions that are fundamentally different from those who are routinely exposed to and which are adapted to terrestrial mammalian species. First of all, a huge energy demands digging burrows, low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels are the main factors influencing these mammals. On the other hand, this type of environment is relatively safe from predators above ground. Not only from this point of view it is a very interesting group of animals that became a model for numerous scientific studies, especially in ecophysiology, behavioral and sensory ecology, genetics and medicine.

In our research projects, among others, we discuss how these rodents adapted their activity and behavior specific environmental conditions in which they live. We have found that its activity is likely to be adapted to changes of soil temperatures, even though it varies slightly. To be able to continuously monitor soil temperature at different depths and kinds of nests examined, used for many years dataloggers from COMET. We especially appreciate the measurement accuracy, long battery life and reliability.

Matej Lövy PhD.
Faculty of Science University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice