We have a problem on planet earth today. It is this, our biodiversity is disappearing at an alarming rate and it ranges from individual species to whole ecosystems. Why is this important? Well, wild populations of animals and plants hold the key too many human ills; such as keeping ourselves fed and providing new medicines to combat disease. As an example, alkaloids from caranthus roseus, a Madagascan rainforest plant, have delivered effective treatments for leukaemia and lymphoma.
We need to protect and conserve our biodiversity. It is a very important resource, and once gone it is lost forever. In order to do this effectively, we really need to know what species are out there and how they interact.
Rana can help in achieving this objective by casting its robotic eye over an ecosystem, recording the species that are there, and also recording how they interact and behave.
Rana doesn’t get tired, it is completely autonomous and it can function for weeks without any human intervention. Rana’s output can be directly linked to computers in institutions tasked with conservation; such as The Smithsonian or The Natural History Museum via (satellite) internet links. In some instances Rana’s output can be fed directly into Daisy and identifications automatically made – it depends on the extent to which Daisy has been trained on the ecosystem being monitored.
Rana can replace a small army of para-taxonomists, and operate in places where humans can not or would not wish to remain for extended periods.
In summary, Rana makes environmental monitoring possible on a large scale basis.