Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Computer Engineering

Major Professor

Hairong Qi, Thomas G. Hallam

Committee Members

Donald W. Bouldin

Abstract

Brazilian free tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) are among the most abundant and widely distributed species in the southwestern United States in the summer. Because of their high metabolic needs and diverse diets, bats can impact the communities in which they live in a variety of important ways. The role of bats in pollination, seed dispersal and insect control has been proven to be extremely significant. Due to human ignorance, habitat destruction, fear and low reproductive rates of bats, there is a decline in bat populations. T.brasiliensis eats large quantities of insects but is not always successful in prey capture. In the face of unfavorable foraging condition bats reduce energy expenditure by roosting. By studying the interaction between bats and adults insects along with the associated energetics, we estimate the pest control provided by bats in agro-ecosystems to help understand their ecological importance. To visualize the interaction between bats and adult insects, a simulator has been designed. This simulator is based upon an individual based modeling approach. Using the simulator, we investigated the effect of insect densities and their escape response on the foraging pattern of bats.

Traditionally synthetic pesticides were used to control pest population. But recently the use of transgenic crops has become widespread because of the benefits such as fewer pesticide applications and increased yield for growers. To study the effect of these transgenic crops on moth densities and subsequently on bats foraging activity, videos were recorded in the fields at Texas. To count the moths in the videos, we utilized image segmentation techniques such as thresholding and connected component labeling. Accuracy up to 90% has been achieved using these techniques.

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