Advancing science by promoting technology to track migratory species
The use of satellite transmitters, geolocators, stable isotope analysis, and genomics are advancing our ability to track animals throughout their full life cycles, thus enhancing our understanding of migratory connectivity. These data are rapidly growing, and the Migratory Connectivity Project hopes to promote further research as well as foster the implementation of connectivity information into conservation and management plans.
Tracking Techniques and Technology
- Individual marking (Conventional Tagging)
- Acoustic telemetry
- Radio (VHF) telemetry
- Light-level Geolocation
- Satellite tracking and telemetry (Including Argos, GPS, and Iridium)
- Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT tagging)
- Molecular markers
- Stable isotopes
- Future development
There is a positive feedback loop between scientists conducting research and development of the technology needed to facilitate their research. Current tracking devices are often too big, heavy, or expensive. But scientists can encourage technological innovation as well as utilize indirect methods for answering their questions.
- Development of smaller transmitting devices
- Stable isotopes and molecular markers
Which method to use?
The decision of which type of technology to use depends on a number of factors, including the question being addressed, temporal and spatial scale, cost, and size of the organism (see figure and table below).