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Fembot 2.0

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Published on Aug 10, 2013

Fembot 2.0 is the 2012 Model female sage-grouse robot. Freed from the G-scale train tracks used by her predecessor, she is built on a model tank base with all-wheel drive. She can look back and forth, and lean forward to peck at the ground. We use her to study male-female interactions during courtship experimentally, by simulating the "interested" or "uninterested" behaviors produced by real female sage-grouse. She also has a video camera on-board, to capture the sights and sounds of courtship from the female's perspective. In the second half of the video, the fembot-cam captures her departure from the blind and movement across the strutting ground (lek) toward displaying males.

Greater sage-grouse populations are declining throughout their range, making them a species of conservation concern and a candidate for listing as endangered in the US. The robot helps us to understand natural breeding behaviors, including sage-grouse foraging ecology and the role of vocalizations in mate choice. This information guides our applied research on the impacts of noise pollution from energy development on sage-grouse breeding biology. For more information, see the lab webpage: http://www.eve.ucdavis.edu/gpatricell...

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