Archer Field PC Used by Utah State University for Research on Desert Reptiles

Researchers from the Biology Department at Utah State University are conducting an ecological research project in order to better understand the physiological impact of changing environmental landscapes and environmental stress on desert reptiles. The changing environmental landscapes include the presence of pathogens, degradation of habitat, climate change, and altered resource availability. This research is being conducted with particular focus on reproduction in pregnant female reptiles.

Dr. Susannah French, PhD, from the Biology Department at USU and a group of student researchers studied the desert sagebrush lizard and side-blotched lizard in the remote desert areas near Zion National Park, as well as urban settings in Southern Utah. Considering the territorial nature of desert reptiles, this research requires capturing lizards at field sites and then later recapturing the same lizard at specific time intervals.

Researchers collect a heavy amount of data while studying desert reptiles in the field, including hormone levels, immune data, and morphometric data (length, weight, sex, follicle size in pregnant females, etc.). In the past, pen and paper were the primary means by which data was collected. This method proved to be risky, given that lizards live in extreme environments in remote locations with high temperatures, and collected data was in danger of being destroyed or lost. This data also had to be transcribed back at the office, requiring many additional hours of data entry. Dr. French and her students needed a reliable, rugged, new age solution to collect their data.

That new age solution was the Archer Field PC. With its sunlight readable display, lightweight and compact design, IP67 rating, and extra long battery life, the Archer was a perfect fit for the specific needs of the USU researchers. The Archer is also very easy to use, which was critical for Dr. French since many different students were involved and training time needed to be kept at a minimum. Before heading out into the field, Dr. French used a Microsoft Excel file to define the type of necessary data that was to be collected for each lizard and then transferred the file to the Archer. By doing this in advance, the data collection process was standardized for each individual researcher. At the end of each day, researchers simply synchronized the data from the Archer to the office PCs, saving hours of post-processing time.

Dr. French said, We have used pen and paper for data collection in the field for years and wanted to save data entry time back at the research station. Our field researchers needed a field PC that is reliable and easy to use, accompanied with a long battery life and rugged design. Im happy to say that the Archer has worked great! Dr. French expects that the Archer Field PCs will be used for many years to come, and is now planning to incorporate more geospatial data into their research using the optional GPS features of the Archer.

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