EPIEDAPH and EUEDAPH probes

EPIEDAPH probes are developed for automatic sensing of soil dwelling arthropods, whereas EUEDAPH probes target soil dwelling arthropods.

EPIEDAPH probe

Function of the equipment

The function of the equipment is to monitor insects living on the surface soil, and to detect those which get into the trap, as well as to take photos of them.  Detected and photo data are sent through the GPRS module to the central data processing server.

The equipment has its own power supply for the time between placements, but energy is mainly provided by the solar cell power supply unit.

Structure of the equipment

The equipment consists of the following parts:

  • Collecting system
  • 150 mm diameter protecting tube
  • Collecting area limiter equipped with a concentric positioning element
  • 120 mm diameter collecting funnel
  • 150 mm diameter eccentric collecting tube positioning element with a net which has a 2mm opening
  • Eu-EDAPH sensor case, third generation IR3 sensor and photographing unit
  • 12 core, shielded cable for power supply and communication
  • D-Sub 15 connector
  • Protective umbrella
Structure of the trap

The function of the protecting tube of the EPIEDAPH electronic probe is to protect the mechanical parts, and to enable regular control and management operations. When placing the trap, the protecting tube is needed to be parallel to the ground because this type of placement allows animals to get trapped.

After placing the protecting tube, the combined sensing probe system equipped with the photography equipment is set inside the tube, and the collection container is placed above it. Inside the collection container animals are directed toward the detected area by guidance components, where they are counted and photographed. The photography area is 21×30 mm.

The closure of the sensor case is ensured by stainless steel, both at the upper and lower part, and a glass tube in the detecting band. The sensor can be disassembled, making maintenance and cleaning possible. Following photography, animals which get into the probe are directed toward the sample collector.

Detecting is implemented by an IR 2 sensor with a 35 mm diameter effective detecting area. After detection, the animal gets to the photo chamber through a unique funnel, where a 640×480 pixel, 0.046 mm resolution photo is taken of it.

EUEDAPH probe

Function of the equipment

The function of the equipment is to monitor arthoropds living below the surface, and to detect those which get into the trap, as well as to take photos of them.  Detected and photo data are sent through the GPRS module to the central data processing server.

The construction of the equipment is highly similar to the EPIEDAPH probes, but in order to detect smaller animals in size and running monitoring belowground, we made some changes.

Structure of the equipment

The equipment consists of the following parts:

  •  Collecting system
  • 150 mm diameter protecting tube
  • Collecting area limiter equipped with a concentric positioning element
  • 120 mm diameter collecting funnel
  • 150 mm diameter eccentric collecting tube positioning element with a net which has a 2mm opening
  • Eu-EDAPH sensor case, third generation IR3 sensor and photographing unit
  • 12 core, shielded cable for power supply and communication
  • D-Sub 15 connector
  • Protective umbrella
Structure of the trap:

The function of the protecting tube of the Eu-EDAPH electronic probe is to protect the mechanical parts, and to enable regular control and management operations. When placing the trap, the protecting tube is needed to be placed below the surface because this type of placement allows animals to get trapped.

After placing the protecting tube, the combined sensing probe system equipped with the third generation IR3 sensor and the photography equipment is set inside the tube, and the collembolan collecting system is placed above it. The ceramic balls are important elements of the collecting system, they prevent soil particulates from getting into the probe, because the size of the particulates could be similar to the size of the animals. The ceramic balls also provide appropriate microclimate for the sensitive animals. On the top of the collecting funnel, a 2x2mm net is placed, which prevent bigger fragments to get in. The collector connects to a 60 degree funnel, which has 8mm departure. This tube fits into the hole on the upper lock plate of the EU sensor case, and it is fastened to it. The closure of the sensor case is ensured by stainless steel, both at the upper and lower part, and a glass tube in the detecting band. The sensor can be disassembled, making maintenance and cleaning possible.

Following photography, animals which get into the probe are directed toward the sample collector placed on the surface, by a pneumatic system, through a 10mm tube.

This method enables the probe to operate during the time of monitoring, without relocation.

Detecting is implemented by an IR 3 sensor with a 15 mm diameter detecting area. After detection, the animal gets to the photo chamber through a unique funnel, where a 640×480 pixel, 0,023 mm resolution photo is taken of it.

History of probe developments

Both new probe type is a further development of the EDAPHOLOG system, which was developed at a pervious LIFE project (MEDAPHON LIFE). It is a soil biology monitoring device, with which in-situ monitoring of soil living arthropods can be achieved rapidly, cost effectively and in actual time-scale. The sampling technique is very similar to the methodology applied in pitfall traps. Ground-dwelling arthropods (between 0.3-10mm) entering the trap are unable to escape, they are then captured and preserved in 70% alcohol. It’s novelty based on the automatic counting of trapped organisms by opto-electronic sensors. This sensors are able to estimate the body-size of the animals. The detection is based on the change of the infrared beam. Every specimen which cross the infrared light cause a size-dependent change in the intensity of light which is transformed into an electric pulse. The amplitude and the length of the pulse depends on the size of the animal.

If an animal falls into the probe, the event will be recorded then the logger will send the data to the central database. The data logger maintains a permanent and real-time wireless connection with probes linked and with the central server via the GSM / GPRS connection. The data collector is set up inside a waterproof electrical enclosure, supplied by 7 Ah Li-ion battery and a solar panel. GPRS data transmission frequency can be set by users. The probes can work for months without human interference.

The control software is composed of three subunits:

  • relational database for permanent data storage
  • control unit for tracking the operation of the probes and loggers
  • web based application for analysis and display

Each unit of EDAPHOLOG System (probes, loggers) is controlled by this Java® based control software that has been developed specifically for the system. Database has been developed on Oracle®. Data display is also conducted by the control software. The control software enables us to follow the operation of the system in real time and to handle each probe and logger simultaneously via internet browser. Either raw or processed data can be retrieved and displayed in either table or graph formats. EDAPHOWEB supports the entire monitoring procedure. ‘Projects’ menu box corresponds to the installation of the monitoring sites. Under ‘Devices’ menu EDAPHOLOG units can be set up. In ‘Options’ we can send SMS-s to the loggers. ‘Graphs & Data’ menu relates data queries and displays. Spatial allocation of the monitoring sites is showed on an interactive goggle map application, while in and out coming sms-s are displayed in an independent window.

After further development of the sensors, we had to change in the mechanical construction of the traps.

In the case of EPIEDAPH probe, the main challenges was the filtering of contamination falling into the classic Barber trap. We applied a protecting scale placed above the mouth of the funnel. In this was animals have to move laterally, actively and after that they fall into to funnel which leads them into the sensoring area.

In the case of EUEDAPH traps, we used different construction. With these construction we wanted to reduce the amount of possible contamination and maximise the connection between the trap and the soil.

At the first prototype we used a sack filled with clay granules as medium between the soil, the surface and the trap. Under this sack a double plastic filter were placed. Animals got through this filter actively and jump into the funnel which lead them into the sensoring area. Unfortunately animals stayed in the filtering system and died there.

In the next version we used a double funnel system to be able to capture surface living arthropods as well. The first funnel serve as trap for surface living arthropods. The gap between the top of the funnel and the second funnel level is filled with soil, where double net protect the funnel from particles falling in. Above the second level funnel, where the first level funnel leads the animals, we placed a sack of clay granules, which further protect the sensor form particles falling in.

But unfortunately this multilevel filtering system was not enough to protect the sensoring area from contamination falling in, so we ended up in the latest version of EUEDAPH probe (see above).