Field testing a novel high residence positioning system for monitoring the fine‐scale movements of aquatic organisms

Guzzo, M. M., Van Leeuwen, T. E., Hollins, J., Koeck, B. , Newton, M., Webber, D. M., Smith, F. I., Bailey, D. M. and Killen, S. S. (2018) Field testing a novel high residence positioning system for monitoring the fine‐scale movements of aquatic organisms. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(6), pp. 1478-1488. (doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12993) (PMID:30008993) (PMCID:PMC6033000)

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1. Acoustic telemetry is an important tool for studying the behaviour of aquatic organisms in the wild. 2. VEMCO high residence (HR) tags and receivers are a recent introduction in the field of acoustic telemetry and can be paired with existing algorithms (e.g. VEMCO positioning system [VPS]) to obtain high‐resolution two‐dimensional positioning data. 3. Here, we present results of the first documented field test of a VPS composed of HR receivers (hereafter, HR‐VPS). We performed a series of stationary and moving trials with HR tags (mean HR transmission period = 1.5 s) to evaluate the precision, accuracy and temporal capabilities of this positioning technology. In addition, we present a sample of data obtained for five European perch Perca fluviatilis implanted with HR tags (mean HR transmission period = 4 s) to illustrate how this technology can estimate the fine‐scale behaviour of aquatic animals. 4. Accuracy and precision estimates (median [5th–95th percentile]) of HR‐VPS positions for all stationary trials were 5.6 m (4.2–10.8 m) and 0.1 m (0.02–0.07 m), respectively, and depended on the location of tags within the receiver array. In moving tests, tracks generated by HR‐VPS closely mimicked those produced by a handheld GPS held over the tag, but these differed in location by an average of ≈9 m. 5. We found that estimates of animal speed and distance travelled for perch declined when positional data for acoustically tagged perch were thinned to mimic longer transmission periods. These data also revealed a trade‐off between capturing real nonlinear animal movements and the inclusion of positioning error. 6. Our results suggested that HR‐VPS can provide more representative estimates of movement metrics and offer an advancement for studying fine‐scale movements of aquatic organisms, but high‐precision survey techniques may be needed to test these systems.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors thank the staff at the Scottish Center for Ecology and the Environment for accommodating the field work. S.S.K., J.H., B.K. and T.E.V.L. were supported by NERC Advanced Fellowship NE/J019100/1 and European Research Council Starting Grant no. 640004. D.M.W. and F.I.S. have a potential conflict of interest as they work for VEMCO Ltd. who manufactures the equipment used in this study. However, they only provided guidance on how to design the field tests, calculated the raw positional data that was submitted to them and helped with results interpretation. The field tests, data analysis and writing of the initial draft were performed independently by university collaborators
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Killen, Professor Shaun and Hollins, Jack and Bailey, Dr David and Koeck, Dr Barbara and Van Leeuwen, Dr Travis and Newton, Dr Matthew and Guzzo, Mr Matthew
Authors: Guzzo, M. M., Van Leeuwen, T. E., Hollins, J., Koeck, B., Newton, M., Webber, D. M., Smith, F. I., Bailey, D. M., and Killen, S. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Methods in Ecology and Evolution
ISSN (Online):2041-210X
Published Online:24 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9(6):1478-1488
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
594261The Influence of Individual Physiology on Group Behaviour in Fish SchoolsShaun KillenNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/J019100/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED