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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.19

TOPP as a Marine Life Observatory: Using Electronic Tags to Monitor the Movements, Behaviour and Habitats of Marine Vertebrates

Daniel P. Costa(1), Barbar e. Block(2), Steven J. Bograd(3), Michael A. Fedak(4), John S. Gunn(5)

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The Tagging of Pacific Pelagic (TOPP) a field program of the Census of Marine Life has proven the concept of using electronic tags to develop a Marine Life Observatory (MLO) to monitor the habitat utilization, movement patterns and behaviour of large marine predators. Given the difficulty of observing the behavior of highly pelagic marine species we know relatively little about their habitat requirements. This is especially true for tunas, sharks, turtles, seabirds, seals and whales that disperse over vast areas of the pelagic realm spending most of their time underwater and at great distances from shore. The new, miniaturized sensors provide oceanographic quality environmental data directly from wild animals living free and undisturbed in their natural habitats, in addition to detailed information about the behaviour of the animals themselves. The availability of this technology is leading to a partnership between physical oceanographers and organismal biologists. These studies are providing a unique avenue for animal acquired data to be incorporated into the operational oceanography community. The data derived from these advanced electronic tagging technologies and scientific methods will help us meet the challenges of the 21st century for marine resource management and ocean modeling. Biologging has been employed on a large scale and in an operational mode showing that it can play an important role in a Global Ocean Observing System.

1Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Rd, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA
2Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Oceanview Boulevard, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 USA
3NOAA//NMFS (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service), Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Environmental Research Division, 1352 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950 USA
4NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews, East Sands, St Andrews KY15 5QJ United Kingdom
5Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston Tasmania 7050, Australia

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: costa@biology.ucsc.edu

This paper shall be cited as:

Costa, D., Block, B., Bograd, S., Fedak, M. and Gunn, J., (2010). "TOPP as a Marine Life Observatory: Using Electronic Tags to Monitor the Movements, Behaviour and Habitats of Marine Vertebrates" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.19

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