07 Dec ATS Data Product Tracks Activity Levels of Highly Migratory Species
A new study published by the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science shows the power of Wildlife Computers Activity Time Series data product. “The new feature available on the Wildlife Computers MiniPAT 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 Rachel Skubel, the study’s lead author and a Doctoral student 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.”
To test the new ATS technology, researchers attached MiniPATs to cobia (Rachycentron canadum) housed at the University of Miami’s Experimental Fish Hatchery. Using cameras to record the actual behaviors of the tagged cobia, researchers evaluated how changes in activity levels measured and transmitted by the ATS satellite tags matched the actual activity levels of the cobia recorded on camera. To see how well the tag performed in the wild, the team attached MiniPAT tags enabled with the ATS data product to sandbar sharks. After one month, the tags popped off as programmed and successfully transmitted the sharks’ activity data along with their environmental conditions and locations.
“The ability to now remotely track how animals are behaviorally responding to changes in environmental conditions over several months and across vast expanses of the open ocean really opens up a lot of new research opportunities,” said Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, a research associate professor at 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”
The study, titled “A scalable, satellite-transmitted data product for monitoring high-activity events in mobile aquatic animals” was published on 22 November 2020 in the journal Animal Biotelemetry.