Testimonies

Pas de contenu pour le moment

Albatrosses are iconic seabirds of the Southern Ocean. Argos satellite telemetry has greatly increased knowledge of the at-sea distribution and behaviour of adults, and contributed to initiatives aimed at reducing their bycatch in fisheries. However, much less is known about movements of juveniles and immatures, which are potentially at higher risk in areas unused by adults. BAS is tracking juvenile grey-headed albatrosses from Bird Island to fill this knowledge gap and help mitigate the associated threat.

Photo: A grey-headed albatross chick with an attached PTT (the aerial can be seen coming from the back of the bird). (credit Derren Fox)

Albatrosses are a textbook case for demonstrating the conservation application of satellite-tracking data. They can stay at sea for months at a time, never landing on solid ground, traveling incredible distances and their movements are thus impossible to follow other than by tracking. The development of the Argos system enabled scientists to discover a great deal about their feeding areas. It quickly became apparent that incidental mortality (bycatch) in fisheries was a major concern (the albatrosses drowned on fish hooks, or broke wings colliding with trawl cables). Argos tracking data helped in better defining areas used in the breeding and nonbreeding seasons where mitigation measures should be used, so as to lower seabird bycatch rates. However, most tracking tags were deployed on adults, and only more recently has it become clear that juvenile and immatures seabirds may show very different foraging behaviours. They disperse further, possibly avoiding competition with adults and spend years at sea finding the best foraging grounds. Thus, they may encounter different fisheries where they are at greater risk of bycatch than the more experimented adults.

An open-ocean species

The grey-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) is one of the most pelagic species of albatrosses, staying and feeding in the open ocean. It is listed as Endangered by the IUCN because of a very rapid decline of ~5% per year in recent decades at South Georgia (in the South Atlantic) which holds half the world’s population. As with all albatross species, they are long-lived and show markedly different behaviour depending on their age. Long-term monitoring of ringed birds found that fewer juveniles were re-sighted than expected, indicating a high rate of mortality between fledging and first return to the colony.

Giant petrels depredate young grey-headed albatrosses on their very first flight or a little later, when they are still close to their colony. Some mortality can also be attributed to climatic variation. In addition, observers on board fishing vessels reported seeing juvenile and immature grey-headed albatrosses bycaught in areas where adults were not usually recorded.

Tracking for better knowledge

British Antarctic Survey and BirdLife International recognised that there was an urgent need to map the movements and foraging areas of juveniles in order to determine the overlap with fisheries, and to assess the survival rate in the initial weeks and months after they fledge. In May 2018, Argos PTTs were attached to 16 grey-headed albatross juveniles before they left Bird Island (South Georgia) with a duty cycle of 8 hours on and 43 hours off. One year later, 16 PTTs were attached to other chicks.

Funding for devices used in the 2019 season was obtained from the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and the Friends of South Georgia Island, and for those in the 2018 season from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, through the BirdLife International Marine Programme.

Near real-time tracking using the Argos system for 2018 (Credits BAS)
Near real-time tracking using the Argos system for 2018 (Credits BAS)
Near real-time tracking using the Argos system for 2019 (Credits BAS)
Near real-time tracking using the Argos system for 2019 (Credits BAS)

The foraging grounds of the juvenile grey-headed albatrosses in the months after they fledged overlapped with tuna fleet fishing areas in the central South Atlantic. This overlap occurs in their first few months at-sea, when young birds are particulaly vulnerable to bycatch due to their inexperience/naïve scavenging behaviour. This finding proves that bycaught birds likely originate from South Georgia, and that reducing bycatch in these fleets may help halt their population decline.

An awareness-raising campaign has been launched in the Asian countries which are the flag states of these fleets. Moreover, the information has been presented to ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) for consideration by the fisheries.

The juveniles covered huge distances, with the tracks showing how far even young birds can fly – some individuals flew more than 50 000 km (i.e. more than the Earth’s circumference at the Equator) in just a few months.

 

Links & references

  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/albatross_stories/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Albytaskforce/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlbyTaskForce
  • Page on RSPB website: https://community.rspb.org.uk/getinvolved/b/albatross-stories/posts/behind-the-scenes-of-grey-headed-albatross-tracking-filling-knowledge-gaps
  • Page on BAS website: https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/grey-headed-albatross-juvenile-tracking/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/bas_news
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BritishAntarcticSurvey
  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AntarcticSurvey
A grey-headed albatross chick with an attached PTT (the aerial can be seen coming from the back of the bird). (credit Derren Fox)

30.03.2020 Animal tracking applications Tracking of juvenile grey-headed albatrosses

Albatrosses are iconic seabirds of the Southern Ocean. Argos satellite telemetry has greatly increased knowledge of the at-sea distribution and behaviour of adults, and contributed to initiatives aimed at reducing their bycatch in fisheries. However, much less is known about movements of juveniles and immatures, which are potentially at higher…
Earth view from space

16.03.2020 Flash news CLS Response to COVID-19

In this unprecedented situation, many countries have taken decisions to protect their citizens. CLS is bringing its full support to help fight the spread of the virus. We are following the recommendations of the WHO and the French government, while continuing to meet our customers’ needs.
A chinstrap penguin (credit NOAA)

16.03.2020 Animal tracking applications Chinstrap penguins are spreading a long way around Antarctica

Chinstrap penguins live around Antarctica. To understand better the precise reasons why their population is slowly declining, researchers from the Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division of NOAA fitted some of them from three different breeding grounds with Argos PTT, to track them during the Austral Winter, comparing the tracks with environmental…
One of the tracked birds, named EH, at Pak Thale, Thailand, 14 November 2019 (Credit Ayuwat (Ton) Jearwattanakanok)

02.03.2020 Animal tracking applications Spoon-billed sandpipers, long-range travellers

Spoon-billed sandpiper are small shorebirds migrating long distances from Russia to the south of China, mostly along the coasts. Argos telemetry is helping to answer questions about those migrations as part of an international effort to save the species. Photo: one of the tracked bird, named EH, at Pak Thale,…
A bowhead whale (cropped from Kit Kovacs/Norwegian Polar Institute)

17.02.2020 Animal tracking applications Bowhead whales, auxiliary oceanographers

Bowhead whales are crossing iced regions in spring. They dive along their path and the environmental parameters are recorded and transmitted if they are equipped with Argos satellite telemetry tags. Two different tags have been tested and their records analyzed for both oceanographic and ecological studies. Photo: A bowhead…
Two dorcas gazelles (credit C Enseñat)

04.02.2020 Animal tracking applications Dorcas gazelles’ seasonal patterns of activity recorded by Argos

Dorcas gazelles live North of Sahel, in Africa. In some countries they are vulnerable and reintroducing them requires assessing their ability of adaptation to a new environment. Argos transmitted activity data recorded by collars enable to better understand their modes of activities depending on the seasons. Photo Two dorcas gazelles…
An Olive Ridley turtle with an Argos PTT glued on its back. The glue is made so as to fall off within one year (credit Katsufumi Sato, University of Tokyo)

22.01.2020 Animal tracking applications Olive Ridley turtles help in ocean climate forecasting

Olive Ridley sea turtles live in the tropical oceans. They dive to feed, and, as all species of sea turtles, they are threatened these days. To help in understanding and protecting them, some are tracked using Argos satellite telemetry. However, the environmental data thus collected can help other fields of…
first message from Argos beacon

16.01.2020 Flash news ANGELS, the First French Industrial Nanosatellite, Works!

The first ARGOS satellite dedicated to environmental monitoring was launched in 1978 by NASA. Since then, this system has been at the service of the international scientific community and has enabled a better understanding of our Earth, its fauna, climate, meteorology, etc. Some scientists even say…
A silky shark with a pop-up tag (Credit NOAA Fisheries)

06.01.2020 marine animals Understanding silky shark movement patterns to avoid interactions with fisheries

Silky sharks occupy the same habitat as some marketable tuna species, thus leading to high risks of bycatch by fisheries. A NOAA study using a combination of telemetry technologies, including Argos satellite telemetry, aims to identify potential patterns in silky shark behavior in order to devise effective bycatch mitigation strategies.
ANGELS, Copyright David Ducros

18.12.2019 Flash news Angel, successful launch – The Argos metamorphosis is on its way

On December 18, 2019, the French Space Agency, CNES, has launched the first Argos nanosatellite, marking the beginning of a revolution in the Argos system as we know it. This nanosat is the prototype mission for Kinéis, a constellation of 25 nanosatellites with Argos instruments onboard…
Photo: A lesser kestrel with an Argos PTT (Green Balkans)

17.12.2019 Animal tracking applications Where do European Lesser Kestrels go?

The lesser kestrel is a small falcon migrating from Europe to Africa. A study using a large dataset of tracked birds made it possible assess the differences of migration paths and African arrival points depending on their breeding regions in Europe. This can used in devising effective conservation strategies throughout…
National Geographic “Sea to Source Expedition.” Photo copyright Alasdair Davies

13.12.2019 Flash news New, open-source access to the Argos system

Have you ever wanted to design your own Argos satellite transmitter? Now it’s possible!  CLS and the Arribada Initiative are pleased to announce a new open-source reference design by Icoteq, Ltd. Used with the ARTIC R2 chipset, a low power Argos 2/3/4 single chip radio, designed during an…
Weddell seal

06.12.2019 Animal tracking applications Better understanding of Weddell seals’ diving

Weddell seals are the most southerly breeding mammal species. They are found among other places in the Weddell Sea, but their behaviour and foraging strategies are not well-known, in an area itself largely unknown. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institut tracked them using Argos PTTs recording…
a porcupine crab with its harness (Credit University of Windsor)

29.11.2019 Animal tracking applications Deep-sea crabs tracked with Argos!

Deep-sea species are scarcely known. However, a team at the University of Windsor in Canada has devised a means of tracking porcupine crabs living at 900 m depth. Pop-up archival tags programmed to release at regular intervals emitted data, collected by Argos, resulting in a better view on this species’…
Male black caiman with an Argos satellite transmitter glued to its head (photo S Caut)

19.11.2019 Animal tracking applications Studying black caimans in and out of their pond

Crocodilians are tropical wetland ecosystems’ top predators, but they are rarely studied. Black caimans, which live between Central America and the northern part of South America, saw their population drop by 90 % in the 20th century. To have a better understanding of their behavior, scientists used Argos PTTs to track…
great spotted cuckoo iStock

14.10.2019 Animal tracking applications Great spotted cuckoos tracked far from the nest by Argos

Cuckoos’ most well-known characteristic is the laying of their eggs in another species’ nest taking advantage of the care provided by these foster parents (brood parasitism). But some cuckoo species, such as great spotted cuckoos, are also migratory. Advancements in Argos satellite telemetry – especially miniaturization of Argos tags –…
Saimaa ringed seal tagged with a GPS-Argos tag (Wildlife Computers, USA), photo: Saimaa ringed seal research UEF.

03.10.2019 Animal tracking applications Lake Saimaa ringed seals

Ringed seals are living during winters in ice covered environment, both sea and lakes. One of the subspecies is living around Lake Saimaa in Southeastern Finland, where human activities are restricting their living areas and the population is endangered. The University of Eastern Finland has studied their movement using telemetry…
Record-breaking animals

01.10.2019 Animal tracking applications Record-breaking distances revealed by Argos

New Argos tracking study by the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) reveals unimagined distances traveled by a female Arctic fox, from Svalbard to a remote part of Canada. In the Southern hemisphere, an Oriental pratincole, tracked by the Australasian Wader Studies Group, surprises scientists…
Kelonia expo

17.09.2019 Animal tracking applications Kelonia : Honoring sea turtles

For 15 years, Kelonia, the CEDTM and its partners (Ifremer, CNRS, Universities, TAAF, the French Biodiversity Agency-AFB,…) have equipped nearly 300 sea turtles with Argos tags to study their movements in the Indian Ocean – from the high seas to coastal waters. Their research has resulted in knowledge and understanding…
California condor

16.09.2019 Animal tracking applications Argos key tool for monitoring the reintroduction of California condors

Carrion birds in general, and especially the largest of them are often threatened species, even though they are providing huge ecological services. The California condors among them nearly disappeared. They are now recovering thanks to reintroduction efforts, but are still endangered, especially by lead poisoning. Pinnacles National Park and Ventana…
pegase2019 sasemar

20.08.2019 Flash news An Argos ocean buoy visits the Spanish coast

An Argos ocean buoy deployed off the coast of Banyuls, France, in May 2019, has been visiting the Spanish coastline – along with approximately 30 million tourists this summer. The buoy, deployed within the French Space Agency’s Argonautica project, in collaboration with students and teachers from the Lycée Alexis Monteil,…
An Oriental Pratincole with an Argos PTT antenna (Credit: Subbu Subramanya )

14.08.2019 Animal tracking applications Oriental Pratincoles: long-distance migrant birds

Oriental Pratincoles, Australia’s most numerous shorebird, spend up to three months in Australia, migrating to various parts of Asia to breed. To date, traditional marking using bands and flags has produced little insight into their destinations & migration paths. Using 2 g Argos satellite telemetry tags, their migration is monitored…
Humpback whale and tag (Credit University of Auckland)

31.07.2019 Animal tracking applications Argos helps in tracking where humpback whales feed

Humpback whales are long-range migrators, on the recovery after heavy whaling during more than 150 years. Understanding where they feed in the polar oceans, and why they might choose an area rather than another is helped by Argos telemetry tracking. Populations recovering from whaling, but not the same everywhere…
Arctic Fox

19.07.2019 Animal tracking applications From Svalbard to Canada, the long travel of an arctic fox tracked by Argos

Arctic foxes are living in all the regions around the Arctic ocean. Argos satellite telemetry tracking demonstrates that some of those foxes are changing continent using the sea ice as bridge, travelling thousands of kilometers in a few months in the process, from Svalbard to Canada. ‘Recordfox’ of distance Since…
A whooping crane with an Argos PTT on its right leg (Credit Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)

17.07.2019 Animal tracking applications Argos helps track large scale movements of Whooping Cranes reintroduced into Southwestern Louisiana

Whooping cranes were nearly extinct in North Americas in the 1950s. Preservation actions initiated since then have enabled the protection of the species. Reintroduction programs, helped by Argos satellite telemetry are now increasing the populations, and enabling new discoveries on those emblematic birds. Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) are large birds…
Group of Mhorr gazelle with a GPS collar (credits T. Abáigar)

03.07.2019 Animal tracking applications Reintroducing Mhorr gazelles into the wild

The Mhorr gazelle is an endangered species of the Sahelian area. It is one of the most singular, threatened and scarcely-studied gazelle species of northern Africa. It is considered by locals as part of their cultural wealth. Reintroduction into the wild of captivity-bred individuals has first been tried in Southern…
IMOS glider

01.07.2019 Flash news Glider recovery with Argos back-up tracking

Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is a national collaborative research infrastructure, supported by the Australian Government. The IMOS Ocean Gliders facility operates a fleet of autonomous underwater ocean gliders that undertake measurements from shelf and boundary currents in Australian waters. They recently recovered…

26.06.2019 Flash news Great news for Argos users, the Kinéis constellation carrying the future of Argos is under production!

Production is underway on the new constellation of 25 nanosatellites called Kinéis, with the next generation Argos instruments onboard. The new generation of the Argos system is based on greater bandwidth, improved data timeliness thanks to a shorter revisit time (5-15 minutes between satellite passes depending on latitude) and two-way…

14.06.2019 Animal tracking applications Happy World Sea Turtle Day from Argos

On June 16th, people around the world celebrate the beauty of sea turtles and their importance to the marine ecosystem. CLS, unique operator of the Argos system since 1986, would like to take this occasion to honor the scientists working to understand and protect sea turtles globally.  The Argos system…
loggerhead turtle

14.06.2019 Animal tracking applications Understanding the tracking of three loggerhead turtles with ocean data

Trajectories of loggerhead turtles in the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean Sea have been tracked using Argos transmitters. Comparing the tracks with marine environmental data provides a better understanding of the movements of these animals. Photo courtesy of Aquarium La Rochelle SAS. 35 years of monitoring…. For more than 35…