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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Electronic tagging and tracking aquatic animals to understand a world increasingly shaped by a changing climate and extreme weather events

Lennox, Robert J.; Afonso, Pedro; Birnie-Gauvin, Kim; Dahlmo, Lotte S.; Nilsen, Cecilie I.; Arlinghaus, Robert; Cooke, Steven J.; Souza, Allan T.; Jaric, Ivan; Prchalova, Marie; Riha, Milan; Westrelin, Samuel; Twardek, William; Aspillaga, Eneko; Kraft, Sebastian; Smejkal, Marek; Baktoft, Henrik; Brodin, Tomas; Hellstrom, Gustav; Villegas-Rios, David;
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Despite great promise for understanding the impacts and extent of climate change and extreme weather events on aquatic animals, their species, and ecological communities, it is surprising that electronic tagging and tracking tools, like biotelemetry and biologging, have not been extensively used to understand climate change or develop and evaluate potential interventions that may help adapt to its impacts. In this review, we provide an overview of methodologies and study designs that leverage available electronic tracking tools to investigate aspects of climate change and extreme weather events in aquatic ecosystems. Key interventions to protect aquatic life from the impacts of climate change, including habitat restoration, protected areas, conservation translocations, mitigations against interactive effects of climate change, and simulation of future scenarios, can all be greatly facilitated by using electronic tagging and tracking. We anticipate that adopting animal tracking to identify phenotypes, species, or ecosystems that are vulnerable or resilient to climate change will help in applying management interventions such as fisheries management, habitat restoration, invasive species control, or enhancement measures that prevent extinction and strengthen the resilience of communities against the most damaging effects of climate change. Given the scalability and increasing accessibility of animal tracking tools for researchers, tracking individual organisms will hopefully also facilitate research into effective solutions and interventions against the most extreme and acute impacts on species, populations, and ecosystems.


global warming; electronic tagging; acoustic telemetry; PSAT; applied ecology

Published in

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
2024, Volume: 81, number: 3, pages: 326-339