BtM, a Low-cost Open-source Datalogger to Estimate the Water Content of Nonvascular Cryptogams

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

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.