DEC 07, 2020 7:59 AM PST

Monitoring marine animal activity under the sea

In a new study published in the journal Animal Biotelemetry, researchers report on the development of an application aimed to enhance marine animal tracking. The goal of the application is to gather data on the activity levels of animals over months-long durations and overlap the information with temperature data to better understand animals’ responses to environmental changes.

Photo: Pixabay

The application comes from researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine collaborating with Atmospheric Science and Wildlife Computers, Inc. It has been integrated into the Incorporation’s technological systems.

"The new feature available on the Wildlife Computers MiniPAT pop-up tag has an integrated accelerometer for measuring activity, and its onboard software computes a summarized value of overall activity level, which can be transmitted to satellites," said lead author Rachel Skubel, who is a PhD candidate at UM's Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy. "The Activity Time Series (ATS) data product allows us to determine when the tagged animal is switching from slow to fast swimming and vice versa."

The application will target animals such as sharks, tunas, and billfish that are difficult to monitor due to the depths at which they live their lives. Current attempts to do so rely on tags with integrated accelerometers, but collecting this data is cumbersome and a huge limiting factor for monitoring projects. The new technology attempts to resolve this dilemma.

"Along with changes in activity level, the tag also collects and transmits data on the animal's swimming depth and the temperatures they encounter with a user-programmable resolution," said co-author Kenady Wilson, Ph.D. "These data are transmitted via our MiniPAT (pop-up archival transmitting tag) with a tracking period of up to three months."

The team tested out the ATS technology on cobia fish (Rachycentron canadum) at the University of Miami's Experimental Fish Hatchery and later on sandbar sharks in the wild. "The ability to now remotely track how animals are behaviorally responding to changes in environmental conditions over several months and across vast expanses of open ocean really opens up a lot of new research opportunities" said Neil Hammerschlag, from the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and UM Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy. "This is especially important for understanding if and how these species respond to climate change"

Sources: Animal BiotelemetryEureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
SEP 12, 2020
Earth & The Environment
90% of protected wild areas are fragmented
SEP 12, 2020
90% of protected wild areas are fragmented
Are protected areas even helpful is they’re so disjointed that wildlife can’t move between them? That’ ...
SEP 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
High Arctic Polar Bears are Temporarily Benefitting from Climate Change
SEP 24, 2020
High Arctic Polar Bears are Temporarily Benefitting from Climate Change
For the past few decades, polar bears have been harbingers of climate change. However, not every polar bear subpopu ...
OCT 08, 2020
Immunology
Air Pollution Particles Detected in the Placenta, Immune Cells Mop Them Up
OCT 08, 2020
Air Pollution Particles Detected in the Placenta, Immune Cells Mop Them Up
Tiny, black particles much like those found in polluted air have been found in the placentas of pregnant women, as repor ...
OCT 26, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
When Exposed to Estrogen, Fish Generate Fewer Males
OCT 26, 2020
When Exposed to Estrogen, Fish Generate Fewer Males
Life on earth relies on clean water, something that is becoming more scarce. Researchers have found that if water is con ...
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
DEC 10, 2020
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
As climate change continues to alter the Arctic landscape, polar bear research becomes more urgent. Observing animals in ...
DEC 16, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Human-nature interactions increase during the pandemic, particularly in women
DEC 16, 2020
Human-nature interactions increase during the pandemic, particularly in women
In an effort to understand how people have been turning to nature to fulfill their needs during the pandemic, researcher ...
Loading Comments...