Instructions

  • When you first receive your equipment, there are a few things you need to do to set it up BEFORE you go into the field:

 

  • When you get your Audiomoths you need to update them with these files:

 

  • How to use the Lifeplan app and web admin and upload data (latest update: added mention of adding back CONFIG files after formatting microSD cards):

 

  • General user manual for the camera traps:

 

  • Connecting the 24-hour timer to the cyclone sampler and operating it:

 

  • Import permit to include with soil samples

 

  • IATA special provision A180, which specifies how you are allowed to ship samples containing ethanol by air

 

  • Additional customs declaration for Malaise samples: add your institution/name and address to the "From" field

 

  • If you accidentally delete the txt file on an audio microSD card, please replace it with one of the below. NOTE that both files must be renamed "CONFIG" in uppercase letters after copying them on the correct cards, or the Audiomoth will not read them.

 

 

Preliminary plan, to be finalized together with participants:

  • Six years from September 2020 to end of 2025
  • Setup: Selecting natural and urban locations and setting up a 100metre x 100metre plot in one of these. Installing Malaise trap, cyclone sampler, about 5 cameras and about 5 audio samplers (attached to trees).
  • Yearly: moving all sampling equipment from natural to urban location or vice versa
  • Eight times a year during growing season: taking eight soil samples
  • Weekly: one longer visit: changing batteries on all devices (Cyclone sampler runs on car battery), changing sampling tubes on cyclone sampler and Malaise trap, changing memory cards on audio samplers and cameras. Logging and labelling samples. Two quick visits on the two following days to change the tube on the cyclone sampler.
  • At least twice a year: shipping samples to us
Global sampling plan of project LIFEPLAN, University of Helsinki.

Figure 1: Global sampling design. Locations of dots represent the even coverage we are aiming for, not specific desired locations.

 

Maps of Madagascar and the Nordic countries with three nested inset maps, all showing sampling locations at decreasing scales. Project Lifeplan, University of Helsinki.

Figure 2: Hierarchical sampling design

 

The LIFEPLAN sampling scheme contains 100 global locations (Fig. 1), 44 national locations (19 in Sweden and 25 in Madagascar, (Fig. 2), and two sets (in Sweden and in Madagascar) of hierarchical designs that cover the scales from 0.5 to 500 km (Fig. 2 insets). Here we describe only the global and the national sampling schemes (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 maps), since the hierarchically lower levels and Madagascar national locations will be sampled by LIFEPLAN staff and the Madagascar Biodiversity Center.

As described in section What happens after you join?, the only difference between the global and national sampling schemes is that at the global scale, we will also explore the impacts of urbanization. Hence, for each of the 100 locations spread across the world, we switch between an urban and a natural location on a yearly basis, whereas at the national level, locations remain fixed.

How “urban” the urban site should be, and how “natural” the natural site should remain depends on the types of environments available in the particular area. In some places, the urban location can mean the neighborhood of a village of 100 inhabitants. What matters is that the two sites within the urban-natural site pair differ substantially in their level of naturalness, that they are located some 20-50 km from each other, and that in terms of local conditions, they resemble each other as much as possible beyond their respective level of naturalness.

At each sampling location, you should establish a one-hectare (100 m x 100 m square) sampling plot. The plot should be placed in a habitat type that represents vegetation typical to the area, e.g. a common forest type.

Five types of sampling will be conducted within this area: audio recording, camera trapping, cyclone sampling, Malaise trapping, and soil sampling (Fig. 2). The sampling plot will have a single cyclone sampler and a single Malaise trap, placed near the center of the plot. The sampling plot will also have five camera traps and five audio recorders. These you should place as five pairs, one near the center of the plot and one at each corner. Each pair of a camera trap and an audio recorder should be attached to the same tree. 

Equipment provided

Equipment you provide

  • 2 x 12 V car batteries, or mains power
  • Freezer (preferred) or refrigerator for sample storage

Setup

  • When you receive all the equipment, perform the steps in the Getting Started Manual (download from the top of this page)

Select a place that

  • Is roughly in the middle of your one-hectare plot.
  • Is easy to get to: remember car batteries are heavy. At the same time,  the sampler should be at least 15 metres from any roads to avoid dust from traffic.
  • Has room for the sampler’s wind plate to rotate freely.
  • Has room for the battery to sit next to it protected from rain OR has access to a power supply. If possible, a roof over the cyclone sampler, at 2 metre height, with an area of a couple of square metres, helps protect from rain and will not disrupt sampling.
  • Has level, firm ground: the legs of the sampler should not sink in the ground.
  • Place the sampler so that it is level. Please use a spirit level. This will enable the wind plate to rotate and direct the sampler into the wind.

The sampler comes with crocodile grips for connecting to a 12 V car battery, or you can use the adapter to connect to your mains power supply.

Weekly sampling

(The weekdays do not have to be exactly Monday-Wednesday, as long as they are the same three consecutive days every week.)

On Monday morning, bring a fully charged 12 V car battery. Use the LIFEPLAN app to scan the QR code on the cyclone sampler and then the QR code on the new tube you will put in. In the app, select “place” to start a new sample. Remove and open the cyclone unit. Wearing a glove, screw in the empty tube you just scanned. Store the cap safely. Reassemble and replace the cyclone unit. Connect the battery and listen for the vacuum pump running.

24 hours later, bring another fully charged 12 V car battery. Disconnect the old battery. Remove and open the cyclone unit. Wearing a glove, remove and close the first tube. Take care to use its original lid. Use the LIFEPLAN app to scan the QR code on the cyclone sampler (select “collect” in the app)  and then the QR code on the new tube you will put in (select “place” in the app). Store the new cap safely. Reassemble and replace the cyclone unit. Connect the new battery and listen for the vacuum pump running. Take the old battery with you for recharging.

Another 24 hours later, disconnect the battery. Remove and open the cyclone unit. Wearing a glove, remove and close the second tube. Take care to use its original lid. Use the LIFEPLAN app to scan the QR code on the cyclone sampler (select “collect” in the app). Reassemble and replace the cyclone unit. Take the old battery with you for recharging.

In addition, the car battery providing the energy for the sampler needs to be charged between Wednesday and Monday. The collected vials are stored in a freezer or refrigerator.

Shipping: see this section

Alternative arrangements

If you have a long travel time to the site and need to reduce the number of weekly visits, you can

  1. Set up a timer (to be provided upon special request), that cuts off power to the sampler after 24 hours: this way you don’t have to do the third visit but just collect the tube the following Monday.
  2. Only do one sample a week: make sure you contact us before deciding to do this so we can make sure there is no other way. The second sample is valuable, so we want to collect it if at all possible.

If you need a timer or to discuss taking only one sample a week, please email lifeplan@helsinki.fi

Sampling protocol

It is critical that we employ standardized operating procedures for the Malaise trapping. Our coordinated efforts will ensure specimen preservation for sequence analysis and high data quality, permitting the comparison of sites at a global scale. For global standardization with the BIOSCAN initiative, of which LIFEPLAN is a part, we have adopted all the same basic protocols as used in the Global Malaise Program. As a key difference, while in the GMP processing was done on individual arthropods, LIFEPLAN will be based on bulk processing (metabarcoding) of samples. This solution is necessary because of the enormous size of the data to be generated vs the finite resources. At the same time, there is funding to barcode at least 1,000 individual arthropods per site. Through this dedicated initiative, we will help build national reference libraries, as well as contribute to worldwide taxonomic initiatives and to barcode-based identification resources.

Equipment provided:

  • Malaise trap kit including assembly instruction sheet
  • 52x 500ml Collection bottles with QR codes; external and internal labels
  • Pipette rubber bulbs
  • Decanting lid
  • Nitex filters

Equipment you provide:

  • 95% or stronger ethanol, NOT denatured, for preserving samples
  • Ethanol waste container
  • Cooler box: styrofoam or similar
  • Freezer (preferred) or refrigerator for sample storage
  • Clean duster
  • Aluminium foil if possible

Setup

When you receive all the equipment, first perform all the steps in the Getting Started Manual (download from the top of this page).

As our standard Malaise Traps, we use the model “ez-Malaise Trap” manufactured by MegaView Science Co. (Bugdorm), with trap design and kit contents shown at the Bugdorm and BioQuip web pages. Compared to the commercially available design, we have made a few modifications: we use Nalgene bottles and barbed tent pegs, and we have removed the "moth excluder device" (a triangular piece of cloth with small holes, used to keep out bigger insects when focusing on Diptera and Hymenoptera). The support poles at the front and back of the traps have also been upgraded to a sturdier material than in the trap kits sold online. To reduce wear by the pole ends on the cloth pockets holding them in place, we provide pipette rubber bulbs (to be mounted by the LIFEPLAN teams on the ends of the poles before sticking them into the pockets).

The trap should be placed near the center of the one-hectare sampling plot. When mounting, make sure that the collecting part of the trap (i.e. the trap head) is directed towards the equator (north in the Southern hemisphere and south in the Northern hemisphere), and that this is the highest part of the trap (i.e. avoid placing the trap on a downhill slope with the collecting part lowest) (Figure 3). This is because the trap design depends on insects moving towards the highest and lightest part of the trap. When possible, position the trap at a right angle to an insect flight line, in areas with low undergrowth; forest edges or clearings and elevated sites are recommended.  

 

Positioning of Malaise traps relative to insect flight paths. Project Lifeplan, University of Helsinki.

Figure 3. Positioning of Malaise trap relative to landscape edge and southerly direction

Consider possibilities of wildlife disturbance and/or human vandalism – try to avoid either scenario as much as possible; the trap may be relocated if consistent issues persist after deployment. Ensure that all proper specimen collecting permissions are obtained (i.e. from local authorities, property owners, etc.). 

Preparation

Fill one collection bottle 3 / 5 full (~300ml) with 95% ethanol at the time of deployment. Do not substitute with other kinds of alcohol or other preservatives. If possible, wrap the bottle in aluminium foil to protect from the sun. If you find in the following weeks that the ethanol tends to evaporate, increase the amount. If you get so much insect mass that the bottle overflows, decrease the amount.

First deployment

After arriving at your field site, assemble the trap securely, according to the Malaise trap instruction sheet. When possible, tie the front and/or back ropes to nearby trees for added support. Also, if available, attach the trap poles to a 6- to 8-foot stake or post at its highest points to protect the trap against falling over from high winds, especially if it is placed in an exposed area. For further assembly instructions see the YouTube video on this page. 

Attach the QR code sticker to the tent pole - see the second YouTube video on this page.

Tightly affix the prepared collection bottle to the trap head; tie the white ropes on the trap around the bottle to secure it. Begin the collection on a day of the week you can consistently return to for the duration of the sampling period.

Collection & Monitoring

Collect the catch once a week during the insect activity period (i.e. during non-freezing temperatures). Remove the catch on the same day each week. Use the LIFEPLAN app to scan the QR code on the trap, and then the QR code on the bottle you are about to insert. When collecting the previous sample, wipe the trap head with a clean duster, to avoid dead insects remaining between weeks. Then screw on the new bottle with ethanol for the next sample. 

Visit the trap frequently if you can to monitor for and repair damage, and to avoid sample overflow. In particular, check the trap after strong winds or heavy rain. In the event of damage, malfunction or other concerns contact lifeplan@helsinki.fi for maintenance suggestions and replacement parts.

Storage

When in the field, store the sample in a shaded cooler, shielded from light. When back from the field, ideally, place the samples in a standard household freezer (i.e. -20°C) for storage. Ensure that the entire insect mass is fully submerged in ethanol before storage; add fresh ethanol to the sample bottle if needed.  

If a freezer is unavailable, store the samples in a refrigerator or cool, dark location. This is critical to preserve the DNA in the samples; improper storage will result in DNA degradation rendering samples unusable for DNA sequencing (e.g. under constant light, heat or variable temperatures). 

Shipment: see this section

Equipment provided

  • Five AudioMoth 1.0 recorders with waterproof cases
  • Straps for mounting
  • AA Batteries
  • Battery charger
  • microSD cards
  • Memory card reader
  • External hard drive

Setup

The audio recorders need to be pre-programmed before first use. Please follow the instructions in the Getting Started Guide in the Download section. The audio recorders will be pre-programmed to record at set periods. The middle recorder will record at bird frequencies continuously for two days a week and then 1 minute in every ten minutes, while the recorders at the corners will record at bird frequencies for 1 minute every 10 minutes and listen for bats in between. The programme is on the micro SD card, so use a micro SD card marked with a red dot for the middle recorder. You will need to format the cards and copy paste the config file onto the cards before first use.

Attach the five audio recorders to the same trees as the five camera traps, but higher up. Four recorders should be at the four corners of your one-hectare plot, and one in the middle of the plot. An accuracy of about 10 metres is fine. If there are no trees, please put up sturdy posts where they can be mounted at about 1 or 2 metre height. Please put up appropriate signage by the recorders according to local legislation. Appropriate signage will likely depend on whether you are on private property or in a public space. Note that legislation for audio recording is more strict than for cameras in many countries.

To start the first recording, 

  1. In the LIFEPLAN app, select "Place", and then scan the AudioMoth QR code and the microSD card QR code on the microSD card.
  2. Insert the microSD card in the Audiomoth.
  3. Insert charged batteries.
  4. Set the correct UTC time with the Clock app: switch to DEFAULT mode and play the chime from the app until the green flashing light stops flashing and stays on.
  5. Switch to CUSTOM to start recording. 
  6. Put the recorder in its waterproof case, with the microphone symbol aligned with the grey acoustic vent. Close the case and mount it with the strap.

Weekly sampling

At each audio recorder:

  1. Switch AudioMoth to USB/OFF
  2. Wait for red light to stop blinking. If a green light is on or blinking it is not switched to USB/OFF, please check the switch position.
  3. Remove the microSD card. In the LIFEPLAN app, select "Collect", and then scan the AudioMoth QR code and the microSD card QR code. 
  4. Put the collected microSD card in its adapter for safekeeping
  5. In the LIFEPLAN app, select "Place", and then scan the AudioMoth QR code and the microSD card QR code on the new, empty card.
  6. Insert the new microSD card in the Audiomoth.
  7. Replace batteries.
  8. Set the correct UTC time with the Clock app: switch to DEFAULT mode and play the chime from the app until the green flashing light stops flashing and stays on.
  9. Switch to CUSTOM to start recording. Put the recorder back in its case and mount in place.

When you return from the field, upload the data to us. Follow the steps in "Chapter 4: Upload photos and audio files" in our Software User Manual, which can be downloaded from the top of this page. 

Equipment provided

  • Camera traps: new custom model "4.0C" from Wildlife Monitoring Solutions 
  • Cable ties
  • Batteries
  • Battery charger
  • SD cards
  • Memory card reader
  • External hard drive

The camera traps

The camera traps are motion triggered day and night using a passive infrared sensor and will be set to operate continuously at each sampling plot.

First deployment

Four camera traps will be set up in each corner of your one-hectare plot, and one in the middle of the plot. An accuracy of about 10 meters is fine. The camera traps will be mounted on trees. If there are no suitable trees, please put up sturdy posts (e.g. tree posts used for fences or similar). The tree/post should be sturdy enough to withstand weather and not sway in windy conditions (this might trigger the camera).

Mount the cameras at a height of 0.5 metres from the ground. If there is snow, move the camera up or down accordingly so it starts each week 0.5 m above the snow. If needed, cut down vegetation in front of the camera to give visibility and to reduce false triggering by vegetation moving in the wind. If you feel this camera height is impossible at your location, contact lifeplan@helsinki.fi to work out a solution.

Use the mounting strap to mount the camera to the tree. If your site is insecure and prone to theft, let us know at lifeplan@helsinki.fi and we can supply Python cables for added security. The camera traps should be faced north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern hemisphere to avoid glare from the sun. Try to choose a place with the least amount of obscuring vegetation, and don't point the center camera at the cyclone sampler and Malaise trap. 

When you have found a good spot, set up the camera with the LIFEPLAN pre-settings (with the Night Mode change listed in the Getting Started manual). The camera trap should be perpendicular to the ground in front of the camera. This will mean a bit of extra work if the tree is on a slope, as the camera will need to be angled either upwards or downwards (down is better, to avoid glare). This can be done with sticks or stones that are found at the site. When you have deployed the camera trap, note down for yourself where the camera trap is positioned so you easily find it again. Make a note if there are any interesting features in the immediate area that might affect detection (for example game trails). Once the camera is running with fresh batteries and memory cards, secure the latch with a cable tie to prevent tampering.

Please put up appropriate signage by the camera traps according to local legislation. The signage may depend on whether you are on private property or a public place.

Good things to keep in mind:

  • Try to choose a tree that looks like it will keep standing the entire study period. The cameras should, if possible, be mounted in the same spot throughout the project.
  • If you are in an open habitat and you put up a post, keep in mind that it might be seen as an excellent scratching post for local wildlife. So try to make sure the post is as sturdy as possible! 
  • Keep an eye out for nearby nests (like ants or termites) that could make maintenance difficult for you. 
  • Keep in mind that the audio recorders will be mounted on the same trees/posts, so there should be some free space above the cameras.

To start sampling for the first time:

  1. In the LIFEPLAN app, select "Place" and scan the QR code on the camera trap and then the QR code on the SD card. 
  2. Check that the camera is OFF.
  3. Insert charged batteries if you haven't done it earlier.
  4. Insert the SD card.
  5. Check that camera is in correct date and UTC time: Turn the camera to SETUP. You should see live picture on the screen. Hold the right arrow button down to see the camera date and time in red text over the screen. If incorrect, Press MENU and navigate to Other > Date/time to correct it. You can find current UTC time conveniently in the Audiomoth app.
  6. Take a "start picture" to calibrate time: Hold your phone screen, with the Audiomoth app in Dark Mode, about 20 cm from the lens of the camera. You should be able to see your phone on the camera screen to help position it. Press OK to take a picture manually. Quickly check the image by pressing the up arrow. Try to avoid reflections or glare. It is okay that the text is blurry. If you have trouble in low light conditions, try lowering the brightness on your phone.
  7. Turn the camera trap ON. Strap the camera trap in its tree. It is now motion activated and on, so it will take pictures of you if you walk in front of it. Secure the latch with a cable tie to prevent tampering.

Weekly sampling

Make sure you have enough charged batteries for all the cameras, and that you have a system in place to separate empty batteries from the charged ones. When arriving at a camera, do a quick scan of the camera and the area to check if anything is out of the ordinary. You will be able to note down any anomalies in the LIFEPLAN app (for example if the camera is facing in the wrong direction or is lying on the ground).

  1. Take the "end picture" of the Audiomoth chime app screen in dark mode:
    1. Cut off the cable tie and open the camera.
    2. Set the camera to SETUP and enter the password. The screen on the camera should by default be in camera mode.
    3. Open the chime app on your phone and position it about 20 cm from the lens on the camera. You should be able to see your phone on the camera screen to help position it. Press OK to take a picture manually.
    4. Quickly check the image by pressing the up arrow.
      Try to avoid reflection or glare. It is okay that the text is blurry but it needs to be clearly visible (the YES! picture in the left sidebar is a good image).
    5. Notice! If you have trouble getting a good image in low light conditions, try lowering the brightness on your phone.
  2. Turn OFF the camera before removing the SD card.
  3. Take out the full SD card. 
  4. In the LIFEPLAN app, select "Collect" and scan the QR code on the camera trap and then the QR code on the collected SD card. Store the SD card in a safe way until you return from the field.
  5. Change the batteries quickly, so that the camera does not forget what day it is.
  6. Use the LIFEPLAN app again to scan the QR code on the camera trap and then the QR code on the new SD card.
  7. Insert the new SD card.
  8. Turn the camera trap ON. Put the camera trap back in its tree, making sure it is facing the same direction as before and is placed at the same height. It is now motion activated and on, so it will take pictures of you if you walk in front of it. Secure the latch with a cable tie to prevent tampering.

When you return from the field, upload the pictures to us. Follow the instructions in "Chapter 4: Upload photos and audio files" in the Software User Manual, which you can download from the top of this page.

NOTE

Root sampling will not be part of the core LIFEPLAN sampling, but will instead be a voluntary, shorter module. Soil sampling will be part of the core protocol. With this sample, we aim to identify the fungi present in the soil surface.

Equipment provided

  • Disposable gloves (on request, if possible obtain locally)
  • Clear plastic bags for mixing soil samples
  • Paper glassine bags
  • QR codes for paper bags
  • Airtight Zip-lock bags
  • Silica gel

Equipment you provide

  • Knife (sharp and strong, at least 5 cm blade) OR 5 cm corer
  • Gardening spade or spoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Ruler to measure 5 cm depth
  • Ethanol / flame
  • Cooler box: styrofoam or similar
  • Freezer (preferred) or refrigerator for sample storage

Sampling schedule

At each site, you should take soil samples eight times a year. The eight sampling events should be distributed evenly over the entire plant growing season. Thus, in the Arctic region, the sampling times will be distributed along the few months of plant growth (i.e. the snow-free season), whereas in tropical regions the sampling times will be distributed over the whole year. 

Sampling

Eight times a year, take five compound soil samples, one from the center of the plot and one from each corner, around where the cameras and audio recorders are. Each compound sample is made up of three cores.

To avoid contaminating and cross-contaminating the samples, wear disposable gloves (or plastic bags over your hands) and change them each time when handling soil from a different point. Clean the tools with ethanol or flame between the sampling points.

The soil samples are taken using a spoon and a knife/garden spade depending on the terrain. (If very rocky, then a trowel may be the easiest way to gather sufficient free soil. If turfy/boggy/generally soft then a sharp knife works well.)

Steps in the field:

  1. Remove any layer of live cryptogams (including moss, lichen or algae) and loose debris from the sampling area (such as dry or uncompacted leaves, branches, twigs, loose needles…). Keep the litter layer, i.e. any layers which remain stuck to the ground. In habitats that have a lot of litter (such as tropical rainforests), take the sample when there is 2 cm of litter or less above the soil layer. For peat habitats, start the sample where the decomposed organic matter is smaller than 1 cm.
  2. Use a knife/spade to cut a 5 cm diameter circle. With a tablespoon, dig out the resulting core to a depth of 5 cm into a clear plastic bag. (In compact soil, the core can simple be lifted out as a “cork”.) You can use a 5 cm corer if you have one, and take a 5 cm deep core. Note: Remove any green plant parts. Live plants can be cut at the level of the soil surface.
  3. Dig two more cores within 1 or 2 metres of the first core, removing green plant parts as you go. Place all three cores together in the same bag.
  4. Mix the soil in the bag by holding the bag closed with one hand and scrunching the outside of the bag with the other hand. With gloved hands, break down bigger soil or litter clumps. Note: You don’t want to tear a whole leaf into pieces, just separate decomposed bits of litter and soil that may have aggregated together.
  5. Still with gloved hands, discard big particles such as stones, litter, wood pieces and plant roots. The remaining soil can include organic matter with a particle size 1 cm or less.
  6. Finally take a subsample of three tablespoons of soil into a paper bag. The subsample should not contain any bigger particles, clumps or pieces.
  7. Label the bag with a QR code. Scan the QR code on the paper bag with the LIFEPLAN app. In the sample location section, select corner 1, 2, 3 or 4 or middle.
  8. Do these steps five times, at the four corners and middle of the plot, to collect five compound samples.

Drying the samples:

Once you have closed the paper bag that contains the soil, you can place it in the ziplock that contains orange silica. Flatten the bag a bit to remove some of the air before sealing it. When the silica turns blue, reopen the bag and swap out the blue silica for orange silica. Repeat this every few hours until the silica remains orange. How long this will take will depend a lot on how humid your soil and environment is. Once the silica is mostly orange, the sample can be placed in the freezer. It is good to leave a bit of silica beads to make sure the environment remains dry. The used silica can be dried  and re-used for other samples. To dry silica, the best way is to bake in an oven at 150 degrees celsius until it turns orange again. It takes a bit over an hour, check periodically.

Shipping: see this section

Cyclone sampling

Cyclone sampler not working / making loud noise

Many cyclone sampler issues are caused by screws having come loose during transportation. If yours is making a lot of noise or is otherwise not working right, try opening it up and looking for loose screws.

Cyclone sampler not working after wrong wire touched the wrong thing:

Try to first rule out the battery and timer as the cause. Try running the sampler without the timer, and then with a new battery. If the sampler itself is still not working, contact us and we will start arranging a fix or replacement.

Audio recording

A guide to the different LED flashing modes and what they mean can be found on the Audiomoth website.

Audiomoth not recognizing clock setting chime:

This can be either a software glitch or an issue with the microphone. To rule out a software glitch, try reinstalling the new LIFEPLAN firmware (download from our Instructions page), then try the chime again. If that doesn’t work, contact us and we will send you a replacement Audiomoth.

Green and red flashing light after firmware update, possible causes and fixes:

  • The Audiomoth did not hear the chime app while in default mode. Try removing and replacing the batteries then switching the audiomoth in "default" mode and playing the chime again. Once the light stays solid green, switch the audiomoth to custom
  • The CONFIG file on the SD card was not renamed to CONFIG only so the device cannot read it.
  • The SD cards have failed/glitched, try doing a quick format of the card then reinstall the CONFIG file and follow the steps above.
  • The new firmware did not get installed properly: on your computer, open the audiomoth flash app and, remove all batteries and SD cards before connecting the audiomoth to the computer, check in the flash app that the firmware is called "audiomoth_lifeplan_0_1_2". Try reinstalling the firmware. then test the device by following the chime app steps.
  • If none of these fix the problem, do get back to us and we will keep working on finding the solution.

No data recorded by the Audiomoth

  • Reinstall the firmware on the Audiomoth following the instructions in the Getting Started Manual (Downloads section at the top of this page)
  • Format the microSD card (File system exFAT)
  • Put the correct CONFIG file on the memory card (download and see instructions in the Getting Started Guide at the top of this page)
  • If there is still no data recorded, contact us for a replacement

Nextcloud

Nextcloud is not syncing right between the local folder and the server:

Unfortunately due to the large variety of operating systems, local IT department restrictions etc., we are not able to troubleshoot all Nextcloud local client issues. If you have an IT department please contact them, or try the Nextcloud user manual or  support forums. If you still need to ask us for help, please include information about your operating system, and whether you have full administrator rights to the computer or are restricted in some way by your IT department. Screenshots of the problem are helpful.

Nextcloud is full:

  • Check that you did add the share links in the web admin according to Lifeplan Software User Manual steps 4.5 and 4.6 (the manual is available at the top of this page under Downloads)
  • Check your email for messages from us about any Nextcloud folders that failed to delete or failed to transfer. Start by deleting those.
  • Email us a list of the folders that are still in your Nextcloud (we need to know the card ID and the collection date, which should be in the name of the folder) and we will check why they are still on your Nextcloud.

Shipping of cyclone vials and soil samples:

  • At least twice per year, post the samples to the LIFEPLAN project team in Uppsala, Sweden.
  • You can send the cyclone samples and soil samples in the same parcel. Make sure the soil samples are at least double bagged (see photo below) and cyclone samples are also in a separate bag or microtube box.
  • Please do NOT choose dry ice or biohazard shipping as these are unnecessary and very expensive.
  • Make sure to select the option to "Deliver at the listed address", NOT "at service point".

Cyclone samples

  • Carefully pack the tubes to ensure the labels will not be damaged in transport. If you have one, use a micro-tube box.
  • If you are sending samples from outside the European Union, you will need to include a description for customs. In the customs declaration or invoice please state:
  • ”Air samples for scientific research. No commercial value. Non-hazardous”
  • Tariff code: ”HS-97050000”
  • The declared value should be e.g. 1 euro or 1 dollar. A template invoice is available if you email us at lifeplan@helsinki.fi.

Soil samples

  • When preparing the soil samples for shipping, please ensure that the individual paper bags are sealed shut either using the QR sticker or a piece of tape. Please be careful so the paper bags don’t rip. 
Soil samples packed in labelled paper bags, then placed in ziploc bags, and then all bags inside another ziploc bag. Project Lifeplan, University of Helsinki.

  • Check that you have written your site name on the label.
  • Place each individual paper bag into its own plastic ziplock. This ziplock should contain some silica. Seal the bag. Make sure the silica is orange (=dry) before sending off the samples.
  • Place all the smaller bags into a larger bag and seal it.

If you are sending samples from outside the EU:

  • In the customs declaration and/or invoice please state:
  • ”scientific research samples, no commercial value, non hazardous”
  • Tarif code: ”HS-97050000”
  • The total declared value should be e.g. 1 euro or 1 dollar. A template invoice is available if you email us at lifeplan@helsinki.fi.

Sending the soil and cyclone samples to Sweden:

  • Send the samples as a tracked parcel, email the tracking number to lifeplan@helsinki.fi and, if possible, a photo of the parcel showing the address.
  • Place all documents on the outside of the parcel.
  • Make sure to select the option to "Deliver at the listed address", NOT "at service point".
  • Ship cyclone and soil samples to:

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Attn: Deirdre Kerdraon
Department of Ecology
Ulls väg 18 B
75651 Uppsala
SWEDEN
Phone: (+46) 018671912
Email: lifeplan@helsinki.fi

Shipping Malaise Samples:

  • Notify ccdbcol@uoguelph.ca, cc: lifeplan@helsinki.fi, that you are ready to ship a package; indicate the number of samples you will include.
  • If you can, send a photo of the Malaise trap and its surrounding habitat to lifeplan@helsinki.fi be used for media purposes.
  • Determine the export requirements from your country; obtain all proper permits if needed (Canada does not require import documents for scientific specimens).
  • Just before shipment, decant off most of the ethanol from each bottle using the decanting lid and nitex filters provided (see video in left sidebar). Thoroughly rinse the nitex filter between samples. There is a 30ml ethanol maximum per container for shipment and a maximum total of 1L ethanol per package as per International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations. To achieve this, drain the ethanol right down to the insect mass. Shipping 26 samples at a time is recommended.
  • The samples have to be double bagged: Place malaise samples in large plastic bags and seal the bag by rolling the top tightly and taping generously or using a heat sealer.
  • Put some absorbent material inside the second plastic bag and put the sealed bag inside. Seal the second plastic bag in the same manner as the first one.
  • Place the double bagged samples into an appropriately sized box.
  • Print and stick the document detailing the special provision A180 on the box.
  • On the customs declaration and/or invoice, write: Science Specimens for Scientific Study Only, NON HAZARDOUS, No Commercial Value
  • Customs Tariff code: "HS-97050000"
  •  Make sure to put a zero (or the smallest permissible minimum) value on the customs declaration form as the samples have no commercial value
  • Content description to appear on waybill: “Special Provision A180 applies”
  • Print the additional customs declaration, downloaded from below. Remember to fill in your name, institution and address in the "From" field.
  • A template invoice is available if you email us at lifeplan@helsinki.fi.
  • Place all documents on the outside of the parcel.

Ship to:

Kate Perez - Sample Submission
University of Guelph
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario
CANADA
N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 x56393