New paper published in Science!
Electronic tagging has become one of the planet’s most important tools for studying fundamental and applied ecology. For years, it was unknown how animals interacted with their environment including where and when they were moving and what risks they encountered during their lives. Biologging and biotelemetry tools have been developed to fill this gap and have dramatically expanded to include detailed sensors that describe individual behaviour and physiology as well as movements across a landscape. In the last few years, tools have emerged that provide even more detail to analysts and animal movement is becoming a high-throughput field similar to genomics or other bioinformatic fields. The big data revolution in animal tracking has arrived and with it, new opportunities for ecologists but challenges for managing all the data and fitting appropriate models. Big data means extremely large volumes of data about animal behaviour in the field.
Nathan et al. (2022) is a new paper in Science focused on describing the state-of-the-art in animal movement as the field transitions to an era of big data. The Bergen Telemetry Network team contributed to the paper as part of the Lake Fish Telemetry Workshop, an ALTER-NET program led by Dr. Ivan Jaric in Czechia. The workshop revealed common challenges confronted by the tracking community that led to this synthetic paper. The work describes how tools such as acoustic telemetry are contributing to the revolution as investigators have millions of datapoints for many individuals across months and even years. Examples in the paper detail how acoustic telemetry networks and terrestrial installations such as ATLAS in Israel are answering some of the field’s most challenging questions. As the Bergen Telemetry Network continues to push forward in tracking Norway’s aquatic life, we will lean more and more on these big data approaches to bring our funders and stakeholders the knowledge about aquatic ecosystems that they need to address challenging conservation and management questions.