HOME
        TheInfoList






Animal migration tracking is used in wildlife biology, conservation biology, ecology, and wildlife management to study animals' behavior in the wild. One of the first techniques was bird banding, placing passive ID tags on birds legs, to identify the bird in a future catch-and-release. Radio tracking involves attaching a small radio transmitter to the animal and following the signal with a RDF receiver. Sophisticated modern techniques use satellites to track tagged animals, and GPS tags which keep a log of the animal's location. One of the many goals of animal migration research has been to determine where the animals are going; however, researchers also want to know why they are going "there". Researchers not only look at the animals' migration but also what is between the migration endpoints to determine if a species is moving to new locations based on food density, a change in water temperature, or other stimulus, and the animal's ability to adapt to these changes. Migration tracking is a vital tool in efforts to control the impact of human civilization on populations of wild animals, and prevent or mitigate the ongoing extinction of endangered species.

Sea turtle eggs being laid by the mother. Unhatched eggs can be used in stable isotope analysis.

Stable isotopes are one of the intrinsic markers used for studying migration of animals.[13] One of the benefits of intrinsic markers in general, including stable isotope analysis, is that it does not require an organism to be capture and tagged and then recaptured at a later time. Each capture of an organism provides information on where it has been based on diet. The three types of intrinsic markers that can be used as tools for animal migration studies are: (1) contaminants, parasites and pathogens, (2) trace elements, and (3) stable isotopes. Certain geographic regions have specific stable isotope ratios that affect the chemistry of organisms foraging in those locations, this creates "isoscapes" that scientists can use to understand wh

Stable isotopes are one of the intrinsic markers used for studying migration of animals.[13] One of the benefits of intrinsic markers in general, including stable isotope analysis, is that it does not require an organism to be capture and tagged and then recaptured at a later time. Each capture of an organism provides information on where it has been based on diet. The three types of intrinsic markers that can be used as tools for animal migration studies are: (1) contaminants, parasites and pathogens, (2) trace elements, and (3) stable isotopes. Certain geographic regions have specific stable isotope ratios that affect the chemistry of organisms foraging in those locations, this creates "isoscapes" that scientists can use to understand where the organism has been eating. A couple prerequisites must be met in order to use stable isotope analysis successfully: (1) the animal must have at least one light isotope of interest in specific tissues that can be sampled (this condition is almost always met since these light isotopes are building blocks of most animal tissues), and (2) the organism needs to migrate between isotopically different regions and these isotopes must be retained in the tissue in order for the differences to be measured.[13]

Stable isotope analysis has a lot of benefits and has been used in terrestrial and aquatic organisms. For example, stable isotope analysis has been confirmed to work in determining foraging locations of nesting loggerhead sea turtles.[14] Satellite telemetry was used to confirm that the location derived from the analysis were accurate to where these turtles actually traveled. This is important because it allows for greater sample sizes to be used in migration studies, since satellite telemetry is expensive and tissue, blood, and egg samples can be taken from the female turtles laying eggs.[14]

ImportanceStable isotope analysis has a lot of benefits and has been used in terrestrial and aquatic organisms. For example, stable isotope analysis has been confirmed to work in determining foraging locations of nesting loggerhead sea turtles.[14] Satellite telemetry was used to confirm that the location derived from the analysis were accurate to where these turtles actually traveled. This is important because it allows for greater sample sizes to be used in migration studies, since satellite telemetry is expensive and tissue, blood, and egg samples can be taken from the female turtles laying eggs.[14]

Electronic tags are giving scientists a complete, accurate picture of migration patterns. For example, when scientists used radio transmitters to track one herd of caribou, they learned two important things. First, they learned that the herd moves much more than previously thought. Second, they learned that each year the herd returns to about the same place to give birth. This information would have been difficult or impossible to obtain with "low tech" tags.

Tracking migrations is an important tool to better understand and protect species. For example, Florida manatees are an endangered species, and therefore they need protection. Radio tracking showed that Florida manatees may travel as far as Rhode Island when they migrate. This information suggests that the manatees may need protection along much of the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Previously, protection efforts focused mainly in the Florida area.

In the wake of the BP oil spill, efforts in tracking animals has increased in the Gulf. Most researchers who use electronic tags have only a few options: pop-up satellite tags, archival tags, or satellite tags. Historically these tags were generally expensive and could cost several thousands of dollars p

Tracking migrations is an important tool to better understand and protect species. For example, Florida manatees are an endangered species, and therefore they need protection. Radio tracking showed that Florida manatees may travel as far as Rhode Island when they migrate. This information suggests that the manatees may need protection along much of the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Previously, protection efforts focused mainly in the Florida area.

In the wake of the BP oil spill, efforts in tracking animals has increased in the Gulf. Most researchers who use electronic tags have only a few options: pop-up satellite tags, archival tags, or satellite tags. Historically these tags were generally expensive and could cost several thousands of dollars per tag. However, with current advancements in technology prices are now allowing researchers to tag more animals. With this increase in the number of species and individuals that can be tagged it is important to record and acknowledge the potential negative effects these devices might have.[15][16]