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Key questions in marine megafauna movement ecology

Ana Sequeira | Mar 14, 2016

Ana Sequeira

Mar 14, 2016

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Tagging whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) is essential to learning more about their migratory movements.

Photo: Mark Erdmann (Conservation International).

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CITATION

Hays GC, Ferreira LC, Sequeira AMM, Meekan MG, Duarte CM, Bailey H, Bailleul F, Bowen WD, Caley MJ, Costa DP, Eguíluz VM, Fossette S, Friedlaender AS, Gales N, Gleiss AC, Gunn J, Harcourt R, Hazen EL, Heithaus MR, Heupel M, Holland K, Horning M, Jonsen I, Kooyman GL, Lowe CG, Madsen PT, Marsh H, Phillips RA, Righton D, Ropert-Coudert Y, Sato K, Shaffer SA, Simpfendorfer CA, Sims DW, Skomal G, Takahashi A, Trathan PN Wikelski M, Womble JN, Thums M. 2016. Key questions in marine megafauna movement ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 13. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2016.02.015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Combined effort of 40 experts to identify key questions in the field of marine megafauna migrations and movement ecology.
  • The questions have broad applicability to other taxa, including terrestrial animals, flying insects, and swimming invertebrates.
  • The goal was to provide a solid roadmap for the general field of animal biotelemetry.

ABSTRACT

It is a golden age for animal movement studies and so an opportune time to assess priorities for future work. We assembled 40 experts to identify key questions in this field, focussing on marine megafauna, which include a broad range of birds,mammals,reptiles,and fish. Research on these taxa has both underpinned many of the recent technical developments and led to fundamental discoveries in the field. We show that the questions have broad applicability to other taxa, including terrestrial animals, flying insects, and swimming invertebrates, and, as such, this exercise provides a useful roadmap for targeted deployments and data syntheses that should advance the field of movement ecology.

FUNDING & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Workshop funding was granted to M.T., Ana Sequeira, and C.M.D. by the UWA Oceans Institute, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and the Office of Sponsored Research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

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COMPARING TAXA

Tracking data from a range of taxa can be used to address overarching questions of movement and ecology. (A) Comparison of different swimmers reveals the roles of body size and endothermy versus ectothermy in influencing cruising swim speed. (B) Comparison across walkers, flyers, and swimmers shows the roles of body size and gait in driving maximum migration distances.