AntCams: Automated image evaluation routine applied to more than 50.000 hours of RWA video streams
05.02.2014 The automated image evaluation routine, developed in close cooperation with two colleagues from the Image Analysis Group, TU Dortmund, was applied to the more than 50,000 hours of video streams. Based on this automated approach, a statistical analysis of the ants’ behaviour in relation to tectonic events in the Neuwieder Becken will be carried out. In addition, other parameters (climate, geotectonic and biological), which may influence the RWA behaviour, will be included in the analyses.
Published Paper in Special Issue "Biological Anomalies Prior to Earthquakes"
Early Results of Three-Year Monitoring of Red Wood Ants’ Behavioral Changes and Their Possible Correlation with Earthquake Events
04.02.2013 For 3 years, two Red Wood Ant mounds (Formica rufa-group), located at the seismically active Neuwied Basin (Eifel, Germany), have been monitored 24/7 by high-resolution cameras. Early results show that ants have a well-identifiable standard daily routine. Correlation with local seismic events suggests changes in the ants’ behavior hours before the earthquake: the nocturnal rest phase and daily activity are suppressed, and standard daily routine does not resume until the next day. At present, an automated image evaluation routine, developed in close cooperation with colleagues from TU Dortmund, is being applied to the more than 45,000 hours of video streams. Based on this automated approach, a statistical analysis of the ants’ behavior will be carried out. In addition, other parameters (climate, geotectonic and biological), which may influence behavior, will be included in the analysis.
The specific mechanisms for how and why they show such reactions need to be researched in in situ experiments and in close cooperation with biologists. An open question is whether RWA would react in the same way on earthquakes with higher magnitudes (M > 4), which have not occurred during our period of observation. This will be one topic of future research. In the next step, the analyses routine will be integrated into the AntCams to transmit the activity indices online and in real-time. After a test phase of about half of a year, we plan to install our monitoring system in tectonically more active regions.
Although the investigation and results presented are promising, they are only a first step towards a completely new research complex. Long-term studies have to show whether confounding factors and climatic influences can clearly be distinguished. However, our early results suggest that it makes sense to consolidate and extend the research to determine a pattern for exceptional activity situations. These studies are not provided for earthquake prediction, but are an important step towards the understanding of GeoBio processes.