Female northern elephant seal with a Wildife Computers GPS tag on her head. The tags on her lower back are archival MK 9 tags that are used to record the diving behavior (Credit: Dr. Daniel Costa, UC Santa Cruz)
The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System is undertaking efforts to enhance our ability to collect, deliver, and use ocean information, including biological information. Data from electronic tags attached to marine animals will soon flow to IOOS.
The addition of this biological component will help scientists better understand how marine animals move with the flow of tides and currents and provide insight into how they may alter their behavior or migration patterns in response to climate change. Data from these animals are transforming the way scientists study our waters and opening up new data sources. With the broader science community becoming more engaged and linking to IOOS, we will be able to provide information more readily to the state and federal officials who need it most.
Tags attached to sea lions and other marine life will help scientists better understand how animals move with the flow of tides and currents and how those patterns may be affected by climate change. (Credit: NOAA.)
The vastness of the ocean limits our ability to observe; this technology is leading to profound advancements in our understanding of these animals and how they interact with the ocean. This knowledge translates to a better understanding of our planet and emerging issues on climate change.
Scientists began widely using marine animal tagging technology in the 1990’s on tuna, sharks, sea turtles, seals, whales, salmon, squid and crustaceans, among others. Sensors track the animals over long distances for multiple years, collecting valuable data below the surface from remote and difficult to reach environments where conventional oceanographic sensing techniques are technically or economically unfeasible. However, data are collected in different ways for varying applications. A major challenge is to better synchronize the many different tagging programs and improve data sharing to the broader ocean science community.
While the animal tagging community has made great strides in data sharing, collection and analysis, efforts are continue to create a stronger bridge among these scientists and other ocean observers. IOOS along with other federal, state and academic scientists are working to establish a framework for integrating biological observations to the IOOS, which is expected to begin as early as the fall of 2011.
Animal Telemetry programs/projects in North America (yellow dots)
Coast of Maine Passive Acoustic Sensor System (CoM-PASS)
Penobscot Telemetry Group
Atlantic Cooperative Telemetry Network (ACT)
Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry Project (FACT)
Adopt a Billfish
Tag A Giant Foundation
California Fish Tracking Consortium (CFTC)
Northwest Hawaiian Islands array
Hawaii TunaTagging Project (HTTP)
Large scale Census of Marine Life (COML) projects:
Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP)
Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking (POST)
Gulf of Mexico – wide Acoustic Array Network (GAAN)
Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observing System (GLATOS)
Alaska Animal Telemetry Ocean Observing. (AATOS)
Internationally funded project
Ocean Tracking Network (OTN)
Project Manager, Dr. Hassan Moustahfid:
NOAA’s IOOS and National Marine Fisheries Service had hosted a meeting in Santa Cruz, California in order to bring together the broader tagging community.
The goal of the workshop is to talk about establishing a national capacity for Animal Telemetry Observations and developing a stronger national capacity to understand coastal and ocean biology and oceanography.
Exploring New Technology Horizons by Mary Glakin, Tracy Rouleau, Suzanne Skelley, and Zdenka Willis (pdf)
This effort is comprised of a wide collaboration of organizations and partners, including: (NEED INFO)
NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University/ Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP)
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii
University of Washington/ Pacific Shelf Tracking Network (POST)
University of Delaware/ Atlantic Cooperative Telemetry Network (ACT)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of California, Santa Cruz
Rutgers University/ Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences
Census of Marine Life (COML)
Global Ocean Tracking Network (OTN)
Lotek wireless, inc
Vemco Division, Amerix Systems, Inc
Collecting Ocean Data with Marine Mammals. Scientists are enlisting marine mammals with electronic tags to collect critical ocean data from around the nation. NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System is working to standardize various tagging programs so researchers can better tap into this data stream.