Calibration of a rumen bolus to measure continuous internal body temperature in moose

Andrew M. Herberg, Véronique St-Louis, Michelle Carstensen, John Fieberg, Daniel P. Thompson, John A. Crouse, James D. Forester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Mortality implant transmitters (MITs), a device that can record continuous rumen temperature, have been deployed in wild moose (Alces alces) in Minnesota, USA, to understand physiological and behavioral responses of moose to increasing ambient temperatures. We compared temperatures collected using MITs to temperatures collected using vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) in 8 captive female moose (>2 yr old) at the Kenai Moose Research Center in Alaska, USA, during 2015. Both devices collected continuous body temperature measurements at 5-min intervals for 1 year. We directly observed moose behavior for 384 hr during 4 2-week windows distributed seasonally within the sampling period, to assess potential effects of behavior on MIT-recorded temperatures. We documented a decrease in MIT-recorded temperatures following water intake and developed an approach for censoring these observations. After removing these observations, MIT-based temperatures were, on average, 0.03° C (95% CI = −0.57–0.55° C; x¯ = 38.14° C) lower than VIT-based temperatures (x¯ = 38.17° C; n = 760,439). We fit linear mixed-effects models to test the relationship between MIT and VIT-based temperatures across seasons and individuals. On average, the difference between predicted and observed temperatures was 0.05° C (95% PI = −0.19–0.29° C) and 0.33° C (95% PI = 0.01–0.63° C) for winter and summer seasons, respectively. We conclude that minimally invasive MITs can accurately record internal body temperature in moose, and thus provide a tool for understanding physiological and behavioral responses of moose to environmental stressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-337
Number of pages10
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank M. King and W. Schock for their assistance with behavioral observations. E. Hildebrand and B. Wright provided guidance leading up to and throughout the field work. Thanks to the Forester Lab, Fieberg Lab, and Arnold Lab at the University of Minnesota for all of their help and guidance over the course of this study. This research was supported by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) Federal Wildlife Restoration Grant AKW-4 Project #1.63, and the Minnesota Experiment Station. We would also like to thank M. Hewison and 2 anonymous reviewers for comments that helped improve the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Wildlife Society, 2018


  • Alaska
  • Alces alces
  • Minnesota
  • climate change
  • heat stress
  • moose
  • mortality implant transmitter
  • vaginal implant transmitter


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