Course/Project: Giant Salamanders in Japan: Transforming Field Research with GoPros
Faculty: Mizuki Takahashi
DP&S Liaison: Brandon Karcher, Wes Bernstein
Date: Spring 2019-Spring 2020
Conservation of Eastern Hellbenders, a large salamander native to the Pennsylvania area, has been the focal point of Dr. Takahashi’s research. However, he also travels to Japan to research giant salamanders, sometimes with students. During the Spring 2019 semester, Brandon and Wes worked with Dr. Takahashi to develop a new research kit – one that will allow him to more efficiently conduct research in the field and also capture high quality video of the giant salamanders. Many aspects of Dr. Takahashi’s field research had to be considered when developing the new research kit.
- Giant salamanders are nocturnal amphibians, so research is conducted at night.
- They are also aquatic, so the equipment needs to be waterproof.
- Dr. Takahashi will also need to be mobile with his kit, traversing up to 5 kilometers per night.
The final kit includes:
- (1) GoPro Hero7 with supportive accessories:
- Spare batteries
- Mounts: Head mount, Clamp Mount, Convertible grip to Tripod
- 64gb micro SD Card.
- 9-Hour ActionPack Battery for GoPro HERO7
- (2) Aputure Waterproof LED and USB rechargeable lights
- (1) Zoom F1 Field Recorder Lavalier Microphone and Recording Unit.
Dr. Takahashi’s research takes place outside of Kyoto, Japan, where he will use this kit from June 2019-June 2020. When Dr. Takahashi returns to campus, he plans to work with Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship to embed technologies like GoPro cameras into his courses, many of which conduct local field research.