Globally coordinated acoustic aquatic animal tracking reveals unexpected, ecologically important movements across oceans, lakes and rivers

Robert J. Lennox, Frederick G. Whoriskey, Pieterjan Verhelst, Christopher S. Vandergoot, Marc Soria, Jan Reubens, Erin L. Rechisky, Michael Power, Taryn Murray, Ingeborg Mulder, James L. Markham, Susan K. Lowerre-Barbieri, Steven T. Lindley, Nathan A. Knott, Steven T. Kessel, Sara Iverson, Charlie Huveneers, Maike Heidemeyer, Robert Harcourt, Lucas P. GriffinClaudia Friess, Alexander Filous, Lachlan C. Fetterplace, Andy J. Danylchuk, Ryan Daly, Paul Cowley, Steven J. Cooke, Elpis J. Chávez, Antonin Blaison, Kim Whoriskey

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Acoustic telemetry is a popular approach used to track many different aquatic animal taxa in marine and freshwater systems. However, information derived from focal studies is typically resource- and geography-limited by the extent and placement of acoustic receivers. Even so, animals tagged and tracked in one region or study may be detected unexpectedly at distant locations by other researchers using compatible equipment, who ideally share that information. Synergies through national and global acoustic tracking networks are facilitating significant discoveries and unexpected observations that yield novel insight into the movement ecology and habitat use of wild animals. Here, we present a selection of case studies that highlight unexpected tracking observations or absence of observations where we expected to find animals in aquatic systems around the globe. These examples span freshwater and marine systems across spatiotemporal scales ranging from adjacent watersheds to distant ocean regions. These unexpected movements showcase the power of collaborative telemetry networks and serendipitous observations. Unique and unexpected observations such as those presented here can capture the imagination of both researchers and members of the public, and improve understanding of movement and connectivity within aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06801
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Early online date7 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • acoustic telemetry
  • biologging
  • biotelemetry
  • conservation
  • data sharing
  • ecology
  • Ocean Tracking Network


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