Leo, M., Lareo, A., Garcia-Saura, C., Hortal, J. & Medina, N.G. (2019) BtM, a low-cost open-source datalogger to estimate the water content of nonvascular cryptogams. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 145, e58700. doi:10.3791/58700

Summary We present a simple and cost-effective method to build an open-source datalogger that measures the conductance of nonvascular cryptogams together with the environmental temperature and humidity. We describe the hardware design of the datalogger and provide step-by-step assembly instructions, the list of required open-source logging software, the code to run the datalogger, and a calibration protocol.
Abstract Communities of nonvascular cryptogams, such as mosses or lichens, are an important part of the Earth’s biodiversity, contributing to the regulation of the carbon and nitrogen cycles in many ecosystems. Being poikilohydric organisms, they do not actively control their internal water content and need a humid environment to activate their metabolism. Therefore, studying water relationships of nonvascular cryptogams is crucial to understand both their diversity patterns and their functions in the ecosystems. We present the BtM datalogger, a low-cost open-source platform for the study of the water content of nonvascular cryptogams. The datalogger is designed to measure ambient temperature, humidity, and conductance from up to eight samples simultaneously. We provide a design for a printed circuit board (PCB), a detailed protocol to assemble the components, and the required source code. All this makes the assembly of the BtM datalogger accessible to any research group, even to those without previous specialized knowledge. Therefore, the design presented here has the potential to help popularize the use of this type of device among ecologists and field biologists.

Video article available at: https://www.jove.com/video/58700/btm-low-cost-open-source-datalogger-to-estimate-water-content