Cumberland Mountain Research Center Publishes Trail Camera Research


STC_0120.JPGThe Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Cumberland Mountain Research Center (CMRC) is contributing to the Smithsonian Institution and their SNAPSHOTUSA project for eMammal.  This research represents a collaboration of wildlife biologists from all 50 states gathering trail camera data to measure mammalian biodiversity. 


“We’re always excited to see what the camera will capture,” said CMRC Director Dr. LaRoy Brandt, associate professor of Conservation Biology. “And as researchers and biologists, we know you can learn a lot from the images.”


STC_0746.JPGThe CMRC trail cameras are placed on the ridge behind the main LMU campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, which is adjacent to the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. As expected, deer, bears, raccoons, opossums, turkey, squirrels, bobcats and coyotes make regular appearances. The CMRC is now approaching the third year of participating in the project which specifically requires trail camera photos from September and October each year for consistency of data.


Researchers nationwide place trail cameras in a variety of habitats to obtain data for common and rare species including environmental and GPS data associated with each animal.  This national database is available for additional research into ecological and conservation topics such as daily activity for predator and prey, differences in species from north to south, species tolerance to urban expansion, and mammals in unexpected areas. The CMRC and LMU student and faculty are able to use this real-world data from the national level in the classroom as well as in student research projects.



A related research manuscript has been accepted for publication. The article is a summary of the first year’s data and is published in the journal "Ecology."  Although not in print yet, the article can be found at the following links: Cove, M.V., Kays, R., Bontrager, H., Bresnan, C., Lasky, M., Frerichs, T., Klann, R., Lee Jr, T.E., Crockett, S.C., Crupi, A.P. and Weiss, K.C., et al.  2021.  SNAPSHOT USA 2019: a coordinated national camera trap survey of the United States. and for the Pdf version:


STC_0227.JPGeMammal is a data management system and archive for camera trap research projects.  This cyber-tool is designed to not only be useful to scientists, but also to the citizen scientists who aid scientists in photo collection.  Camera trappers use our software to look at pictures, identify animals and upload them for review and archive at the Smithsonian. These data then help address important conservation-related questions.  The pictures provide a unique view into the secret world of wildlife.


Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at [email protected].

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