The "Human Subjects Protocol": Instructions (rev July 2009)

Title of Project:
Protocol” Cover Page
Low-Cost Bird Control System for Specialty Crops
Responsible Investigator (Faculty Research Mentor if Student Research)
Yiannis Ampatzidis
Department or Program:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Physics and Engineering
Department Chair or Program Director
Jorge Talamantes
Student Researcher
Omar Samara
Summarize What You Propose To Do:
The goal of this research is to utilize an autonomous aerial vehicle (UAV) to deter birds from specialty crops.
Birds cause billions of dollars of losses in American agriculture annually, and traditional bird control methods are
ineffective. Utilizing a UAV would effectively create a new species of predator for pest bird populations. This will
be achieved through three pathways 1) a visual threat, 2) an audio threat, and 3) physical reinforcement of its
presence and threat to the birds. The visual presence is achieved through the actual presence of the UAV in the
environment while the audio threat to both serve as an audio identifier for this UAV and to irritate or frighten
the birds into leaving. The physical reinforcement will be carried out by applying a methyl anthranilate (MA)
solution right before the UAV returns to its home location. Methyl anthranilate irritates the bird’s sinuses and is
considered generally safe by the FDA and to have no long term environmental impacts or threats to birds by the
EPA. It essentially introduces a new predator to the area.
Project Elements
Project Emphasis: teaching ___ research X
Animal Species: See no.10
Estimated Number of Animals/year: 20
Animal Contact Hours, Per Individual Handler, Per Week: None
Source of Animals: environment
Source of Project Funding: pending (California Blueberry Commission, Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission)
This Section for GRaSP Office Use
All protocols must be reviewed and approved before any animals can be procured or any research or teaching
activities can begin. Submission and review of protocols is guided by the Policy and Procedures for the
Protection of Animals in Research and Education: California State University, Bakersfield (November, 1997).
Use the following Protocol Outline as headings to provide all of the information requested. Indicate with N/A
any sections that are not applicable.
Qualifications of Personnel
1. Qualifications of the Principal Investigator.
Yiannis Ampatzidis (PI), Assistant Professor of Engineering, CSUB.
Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis is an agricultural engineer and assistant professor in the Department of Physics and
Engineering at the California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering
from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH, Greece) in 2010, his MS in Agricultural Engineering in 2005, his
B.S. in Agricultural Engineering (5-year Diploma) in 2008 and his B.S. in Agriculture and Ecology (5-year Diploma) in
2002 from the same university. He has held several research positions in Greece and USA. Most recently, Dr.
Ampatzidis was a researcher in the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), at
Washington State University (WSU). He has taught at Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, at the
Technological Educational Institute of Larisa, and at the AUTH (Greece). Generally, he works in the area of
mechanization and automation of specialty crop production, focusing on the design, development, and testing of
sensors and control systems for optimal management of inputs, resources and products. His current research focus is
on mechatronics, precision agriculture and machine systems with special interest in development, implementation and
evaluation of agricultural machines and control systems for high value crops (precision agriculture applications,
embedded systems developing and programming, UAVs-drones, GIS applications). He has authored or co-authored
more than 60 papers in journals/international conferences, in his areas of expertise.
2. Training and supervision of students.
Dr. Ampatzidis will supervise the students. They will take all the necessary training lessons.
Overview of the Project
3. The rationale for the research or educational activity.
Pest birds have long been a significant source of crop loss for specialty crops growers, especially during the critical
weeks leading up to harvest. Losses to pest birds in California blueberry crops result in an annual loss of over
$2,500,000 (Elsevier, 2013). Traditional methods of bird deterrence of like netting are effective on small farms, but
require far too much material and man power for large scale applications. Audio and visual systems only provide short
term deterrence. Avicides and other avian pesticides like strychnine and methiocarb may be either illegal, or have too
many environmental impacts and too much liability associated with it to be cost effective. Attempting to lure natural
predatory birds can be effective, but may not always work and additionally the farm loses its ability to utilize other
pesticides that are needed to control other pest populations.
Objectives: This project has three main objectives:
 Develop a low-cost system for bird control
We propose to develop a low cost, autonomous, UAV-based system to pest birds. This system combines a visual,
audio, and chemical threat to pest birds, essentially becoming its own predatory species for long term pest bird
 Evaluate the proposed system
After developing the system, we will design in-field experiments to evaluate the performance of the system in
commercial orchards (open environment).
4. Methodology (use terminology understandable to non-specialists).
Strategies to achieve objective 1: Develop a low cost system for bird control
We have developed an affordable and autonomous data collection system using an UAV (multirotor hexacopter) that
can perform predefined operations. The system has been designed to launch, complete its mission waypoints, and
land completely under autonomous control. When it returns “home”, the collected data are transmitted wirelessly to a
web-database over a WiFi connection.
In this project, we propose to develop a system for bird control, utilizing the multirotor hexacopter – UAV- system. This
proposed system consists of: (i) a multirotor hexacopter (UAV) that can fly at speeds of 9 miles/hour to present a
visual threat; (ii) combined with speakers producing a unique audio signature; and (iii) armed with a methyl
anthranilate (MA) fogger to irritate the birds and encourage them to leave the crop.
5. Potential educational, scientific, and technological benefits.
This project will develop a novel prototype for bird control for the local and global ag. industry.
The application of such a system result in long term bird deterrence due to a new threat to pest bird, and avoiding
environmental damage as the pest birds are not harmed. MA is reported by the EPA to have no significant
environmental threats, and non-pest species are not effected in the process.
We plan to use the results from this project to develop proposal for USDA/NSF funding.
Justifications for Use of Animals
6. Justification of the species selected
Birds destroy billions of dollars of agricultural produce annually, and a cost effective and environmentally safe method
of deterring them is crucial to minimize those losses.
7. Consideration of alternatives not using animals.
There are no alternatives, as this can only be tested in a crop to see if it deters birds.
8. Minimization of the number of animals.
If the hypothesis is correct, birds will be afraid of entering a crop, thereby reducing the number of birds exposed to the
9. No unnecessary duplication of previous efforts--for research protocols explain how you reviewed the literature.
We reviewed the literature and didn’t find any system to combine all the methods we propose.
Specifics of Animal Involvement
10. Species, age/weight, number/yr., strain, sex, number housed.
Due to the wide array of environments (California cherry, blueberry, pistachio and grape crops and Washington cherry
orchards), no specifics can be determined, however, the species we expect to encounter include: crowned sparrows,
house finches, American robins, scrub jays, crows, European starlings, and yellow-billed magpies. Age, weight,
numbers per year, strains, and sexes cannot be determined at this time.
11. Food or water restrictions, behavioral modification or aversive conditioning, use of restraint, fluid collection
procedures, provisions for complications.
12. Describe any surgical procedures in detail, including: all drugs to be used, pre-operative care, methods and
frequency of monitoring anesthesia, and post-operative care.
13. Describe any pain or discomfort to be experienced by the animals and the procedures to be used to minimize these.
Any pain caused by this experiment is either in the form of loud noises to both scare birds and alert them to the
presence of the UAV, or by the chemical methyl anthranilate which irritates the trigeminal nerves in the birds’ heads,
causing an aversion to the sight, smell and taste of the chemical. Once the birds associate the chemical with the
UAV’s presence, the sounds of the UAV will deter the birds and minimize their pain due to irritation of this chemical.
14. If the study requires no elimination of pain or distress, explain why.
The chemical is has not been shown to have long term effects in the birds, and we are trying to train them to avoid
certain crops.
15. Describe any hazardous materials the animals will be exposed to and indicate the hazards, including to humans.
Indicate precautions for health and safety of all involved.
The birds will be exposed to methyl anthranilate, which is not considered toxic to the birds, and is actually used as a
food additive for humans. The FDA has given it the classification Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and the EPA
has determined it to be a Reduced Risk Pesticide for General Use. The LD50 values are higher than the
concentrations we will use. That being said, we will follow the Sigma-Aldrich MSDS for proper handling and usage of
the chemical.
16. If euthanasia of animals is part of the project, describe the method and procedure. If not, what will occur to the
animals after completion of the project?
No euthanasia will occur. The birds will return to their natural habitats as they always have during the experiment.
Care and Housing of Animals
17. Describe the planned procurement, transportation, and storage of the animals until they come into the care of the
18. Describe the housing provisions for the animals.
19. Who is to care for the animals on a daily basis?
20. How is medical care to be provided?
21. Animal disposition procedures following euthanasia?
22. Provisions for notification in case of emergencies or unusual occurrences?
Human Health and Safety
23. Describe all human health and safety risks associated with the use of animals in this protocol.
There will be no direct human interaction with birds, so the only risks would be those associated with being outside on
a normal day.
24. Explain the steps that will be taken to minimize the above health and safety risks.
Later in the experiment, we intend to automate the system, thereby removing humans from the process.
•Anticipated Pain and Distress•
A. Adapted from Orlans (1990) & Shapiro & Field (1987): [revised 26 March 2004]
1: Protocols involving either no living materials, live isolates, or most invertebrate species. Examples:
the use of tissue culture and tissues obtained at necropsy or from the slaughterhouse; the use of eggs, protozoa, or other
single-celled organisms; use of invertebrate species with a simple nervous system.
2: Protocols with vertebrate species in their natural setting. Examples: passive observations of vertebrates in
their natural setting; manipulations in the natural setting involving no food or water deprivation, noxious stimulation, or
3: Protocols with vertebrate species in standard behavioral laboratory studies. Examples: protocols with
rodents in open fields; studies of rodents in learning apparatus involving positive reinforcement, including mild food or
water deprivation.
4: Protocols that cause little pain or stress to vertebrate species. Examples: protocols involving invertebrates
with complex nervous systems; vertebrate studies involving the short-term and skillful restraint of animals for purpose of
observations or physical examination; injection of non-toxic material by the following routes: intravenous, subcutaneous,
intramuscular, intraperitoneal, or oral; acute non-survival studies in which the animals are completely anaesthetized and
do not regain consciousness; approved methods of euthanasia following rapid unconsciousness; short periods of food
and/or water deprivation equivalent to periods of abstinence in nature.
5: Protocols that cause moderate pain or stress to vertebrate species. Examples: vertebrate studies
involving cannulation or catheterization of blood vessels or body cavities under anesthesia; minor surgical procedures
under anesthesia, such as biopsies, paratoscopy; short periods of restraint beyond that for simple observation or
examination, but consistent with minimal distress; short periods of food and/or water deprivation which exceed periods of
abstinence in nature; behavioral protocols on conscious animals that involve short-term, stressful restraint; use of noxious
stimuli from which escape is possible.
6: Protocols that cause significant stress or pain to vertebrate animal species. Examples: vertebrate
studies involving major surgical procedures conducted under general anesthesia with subsequent recovery; induction of
anatomical or physiological abnormalities that will result in pain or distress; application of noxious stimuli from which
escape is impossible; prolonged (several hours or more) periods of physical restraint; induction of behavioral stresses
such as maternal deprivation, aggression, predator-prey interactions; procedures which cause severe, persistent, or
irreversible disruption of sensorimotor organization.
7: Protocols that cause severe pain near, at, or above the pain tolerance threshold of unanaesthetized
conscious animals. Examples: use of muscle relaxants or paralytic drugs for surgical restraint without the use of
anesthetics; severe burn or trauma infliction on unanaesthetized animals; toxicity testing and experimentally-induced
infectious disease or other induced conditions that have death as the endpoint; attempts to induce psychotic-like behavior;
killing methods not USDA approved; inescapably severe stress or terminal stress.
B. USDA Pain Classification
Potential Level of Pain
Pain Relief
Pain Perceived
None or minor
None or minor
None to intolerable
Tolerable to intolerable
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