Computer Science undergraduate improves bluebird nesting box performance by ~50%, publishes paper in a peer-reviewed journal
Man-made nesting boxes are often used by bird conservationists to provide shelter for birds and compensate for the resources and territories that birds loose in favor of urbanization. Due to the increased urbanization, in the past few decades nesting-boxes have been becoming an increasingly important tool to protect bluebirds and increase bluebird population. Sarah Svatora, a Computer Science undergraduate student at LTU who is also a bird conservationist decided to merge her two fields of interest, and developed a computational model that improve the efficacy of the placement of the nesting boxes, and provides and optimal nesting box placement strategy. Her model is based on computer-aided analysis of satellite images, showing that eastern bluebirds tend to select nesting boxes based on special patterns of the texture of the landscape around that box. Her results showed that the performance of nesting boxes can be improved by almost 50% if placed based on her method compared to the way the boxes are placed currently. Her results were described in her senior project final paper, which was reviewed by experts and now published in the journal Computational Ecology and Software.
Her paper is now available on-line here.