Telemetry and other Hi-tech tracking devices are redefining how we discover, interpret and manage ocean life.
A news paper, published in Science, niceties the outburst in aquatic animal tracking research over the past 30 years and its impact on discoveries about the movements, migrations, interactions and survival of both common and mysterious aquatic species.
Electronic devices can now weigh less than a penny, can transmit for more than 10 years, and can be attached to almost any species, at any life stage, to gather high-resolution data in four dimensions (2D-horizontal, depth and time).
Telemetry data have revealed the often-mysterious migrations of endangered marine animals like leatherback turtles, basking sharks, European eels and Pacific blue fin tuna. These discoveries, and the progressively more sophisticated technology behind them, produce critical knowledge towards maintenance recommendations. Tracking studies also identify successes and restrictions of current management plans. For example, acoustically tagged reef fish were shown to regularly move outside their Marine Protected Area, putting them at risk.
Marine animal movements and migrations exceed geopolitical, economic, and management boundaries. Telemetry studies in the last decade have recognized movement over transoceanic scales, to regions inaccessible by humans, and into some of the harshest and deep parts of the ocean, giving the groundwork for “next-generation aquatic governance frameworks.
“The ocean will continue to change, Global collaborations among industry and science sectors, and researchers themselves are imperative to get ahead of these changes before they catch up to us.”, says Hussey