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

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Tracking anguillid eels: five decades of telemetry-based research

Melanie BEGUER PON , Julian Dodson , Martin Castonguay , Don Jellyman , Kim Aarestrup , Katsumi Tsukamoto

Abstract

Advances in telemetry technologies have provided new opportunities to reveal the often-cryptic spatial ecology of anguillid eels. Here we review 105 studies published between 1972 and 2016 that use 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, 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, characterized 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. We finally discuss some limitations of telemetry technology and future directions and associated challenges to the developing field of eel spatial ecology.

MF17137  Accepted 17 August 2017

© CSIRO 2017