A novel method for identifying coded tags recorded on aquatic acoustic monitoring systems
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Aquatic biotelemetry increasingly relies on using acoustic transmitters ('tags') that enable passive detection of tagged animals using fixed or mobile receivers. Both tracking methods are resource-limited, restricting the spatial area in which movements of highly mobile animals can be measured using proprietary detection systems. Transmissions from tags are recorded by underwater noise monitoring systems designed for other purposes, such as cetacean monitoring devices, which have been widely deployed in the marine environment; however, no tools currently exist to decode these detections, and thus valuable additional information on animal movements may be missed. Here, we describe simple hybrid methods, with potentially wide application, for obtaining information from otherwise unused data sources. The methods were developed using data from moored, acoustic cetacean detectors (C-PODs) and towed passive receiver arrays, often deployed to monitor the vocalisations of cetaceans, but any similarly formatted data source could be used. The method was applied to decode tag detections that were found to have come from two highly mobile fish species, bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and Twaite shad (Alosa fallax), that had been tagged in other studies. Decoding results were validated using test tags; range testing data were used to demonstrate the relative efficiency of these receiver methods in detecting tags. This approach broadens the range of equipment from which acoustic tag detections can be decoded. Novel detections derived from the method could add significant value to past and present tracking studies at little additional cost, by providing new insights into the movement of mobile animals at sea.
Lowe , C D , Tregenza , N J C , Allen , C J , Blow , G E , Nuuttila , H , Bertelli , C M , Mendzil , A F , Stamp , T , Sheehan , E V , Davies , P , Gordon , J C D , Bolland , J D , Britton , J R , Main , R , Velterop , R , Crundwell , C , Schofield , A & Clarke , D R K 2022 , ' A novel method for identifying coded tags recorded on aquatic acoustic monitoring systems ' , Environmental Monitoring and Assessment , vol. 194 , no. 11 , 806 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-022-10500-2
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
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DescriptionFunding: We acknowledge the financial support of the SEACAMS2 project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government (80860). Bass tagging was undertaken with support from the Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and funding from the European Maritime Fisheries Fund. Funding was received from the Unlocking the Severn for LIFE Programme, a partnership between the Canal & River Trust, Severn Rivers Trust, Environment Agency and Natural England through funding from the EU LIFE Nature Programme (LIFE15/NAT/UK/000219) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF-15–04573).
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