Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Where technology meets ecology: acoustic telemetry in contemporary Australian aquatic research and management

Matthew D. Taylor A B G , Russ C. Babcock C , Colin A. Simpfendorfer D E F and David A. Crook F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Taylors Beach Road, Taylors Beach, NSW 2316, Australia.

B School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2051, Australia

C CSIRO, Marine and Atmospheric Research, 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, Qld 4001, Australia.

D Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.

E College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.

F Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: matt.taylor@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(8) 1397-1402 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17054
Submitted: 27 February 2017  Accepted: 16 April 2017   Published: 28 July 2017

Abstract

Acoustic telemetry is used to investigate a diverse suite of questions regarding the biology and ecology of a range of aquatic species, and is an important tool for fisheries and conversation management. Herein we present a brief review of the Australian acoustic telemetry literature in the context of key areas of progress, drawing from several recent studies and identifying areas for future progress. Acoustic telemetry has been increasingly used in Australia over the past decade. This has included substantial investment in a national acoustic array and the associated development of a national acoustic telemetry database that enables tag deployment and detection data to be shared among researchers (the Integrated Marine Observing System Animal Tracking Facility). Acoustic telemetry has contributed to important areas of management, including public safety, design and management of marine protected areas, the use of closures in fisheries management, informing environmental flow regimes and the impacts of fisheries enhancements, and is most powerful when used as a complementary tool. However, individual variability in movement often confounds our ability to draw general conclusions when attempting to characterise broad-scale patterns, and more work is required to address this issue. This overview provides insight into the important role that acoustic telemetry plays in the research and management of Australian aquatic ecosystems. Application of the technology transcends aquatic environments and bureaucracies, and the patterns revealed are relevant to many of the contemporary challenges facing decision makers with oversight of aquatic populations or ecosystems.

Additional keywords: acoustic tracking, conservation, fisheries management, freshwater, individuality, Integrated Marine Observing System, network, personality.


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