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

Tracking anguillid eels: five decades of telemetry-based research

Mélanie Béguer-Pon A B G , Julian J. Dodson A , Martin Castonguay C , Don Jellyman D , Kim Aarestrup E and Katsumi Tsukamoto F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Pavillon Vachon, 1045 Avenue de la Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, QC, G1V OA6, Canada.

B Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2, Canada.

C Institut Maurice-Lamontagne, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 850 Route de la Mer, C.P. 1000, Mont-Joli, QC, G5H 3Z4, Canada.

D National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, PO Box 8602, Riccarton, Christchurch 8440, New Zealand.

E Technical University of Denmark, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Vejlsøvej 39, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.

F Department of Marine Science and Resources, Nihon University, Kameino 1866, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan.

G Corresponding author. Email: melanie.beguer@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17137
Submitted: 16 May 2017  Accepted: 17 August 2017   Published online: 20 October 2017

Abstract

Advances in telemetry technologies have provided new opportunities to reveal the often-cryptic spatial ecology of anguillid eels. Herein we review 105 studies published between 1972 and 2016 that used a variety of telemetry technologies to study the movements of eels in a variety of habitats. Eight anguillid species have been tracked in three main geographical locations: Western Europe, the north-eastern part of North America and Australasia. Telemetry has proven to be an effective method for determining patterns of yellow eel movements in continental waters. It has also been used extensively to investigate the migratory behaviour of maturing eels as they leave fresh water to reach the sea. Among recent findings is the observation that downstream migration in continental waters is quite discontinuous, characterised by extended stopovers. Reconstructed migration routes in the open ocean obtained from satellite tags have provided indications of spawning areas, extensive vertical migrations and initial clues about the orientation mechanisms at sea. Telemetry studies have also revealed apparent evidence of predation by marine mammals and fish at sea, suggesting a significant natural source of mortality during the eel spawning migration. Finally, we discuss some limitations of telemetry technology and future directions, as well as associated challenges, to the developing field of eel spatial ecology.

Additional keywords: Anguilla spp., spatial ecology, tagging, telemetry technology.


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