Pas de contenu pour le moment

A new tag dedicated to large whale has been developped and tested. It enables to record dive behaviors, using a software detection event to better summarize and compress the data to be used during long-range travels over several months.

Photo: Nadia Levenets for Unsplash


As we saw in a previous testimonial, whales are long-range travelers, whose routes could be considered as an “essential ocean variable” (Identifying whale migration routes in the global oceans). One might even think that whales are the most tracked marine animals, and have been so for the longest time, since they are so big. In fact, however, large whales are difficult species to tag: you can’t capture them, keep them still or even less haul them onto a boat to affix a tag. During the attachment operation time they can move great distances. Moreover, when equipped, they don’t surface for long, so signals from the tag must be short, thus limiting the quantity of information transmitted. Archival tags can circumvent part of these problems, but only for a limited period of time when collecting relatively large amounts of data, and with the recovery of the actual tag needed to retrieve all the data.


A new whale-dedicated tag

A new Argos tag dedicated to large whales was recently developed by Telonics. It incorporates sensors for monitoring the movements and dive behavior of large whales over several months and across half the Earth’s ocean, without requiring recovery. It also includes software to summarize and compress the data to transmit them in real-time through Argos wherever the whale might be and this for several months in a row.

Lunge feeding is a behavior with a stereotypical signature in accelerometer data, since the whale moves at high speed towards its prey to engulf a large quantity of water with prey, after which it filtrates the water within its closed mouth to actually capture the prey. This was the first time that accelerometers with event detection software to monitor lunge-feeding behavior were used on a satellite-transmitting tag for large whales.

This new tag was tested on seven blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and seven humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) whales. The software was configured to detect dives and create per-dive summaries describing behavioral events associated with feeding activities. For validation, the resulting dive summaries were compared with medium-duration archival tag data from a deployment on a blue whale.

The results recorded diel and longer-term variability in diving and feeding behavior, some of which were previously hard or even impossible to observe. The results also showed differences for the same individual, and between different individuals tracked at the same time.

This new tag could also be used for other cetacean species, and broaden the possibility of satellite telemetry in terms of behavior, and should help in conservation policies.


Reference & links

Photo Nadia Levenets for Unsplash

28.09.2022 Marine animals tracking A new tag to record diving behavior of large whales

A new tag dedicated to large whale has been developped and tested. It enables to record dive behaviors, using a software detection event to better summarize and compress the data to be used during long-range travels over several months. Photo: Nadia Levenets for Unsplash   As we saw in a…
Argos ear tag

21.09.2022 Animal tracking applications Breaking news: Engineers and scientists collaborate to develop the first open-source Argos ear tag

For over a decade, researchers have been working on improving radio telemetry devices for polar bears. In 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund, IDEO, and MistyWest teamed up to develop a new Argos-based polar bear ear tag. After two years of…
searching for Argos tag with goniometer

21.09.2022 Animal tracking applications Lost shark tag found thanks to the Animal Telemetry Network and the Argos goniometer

Marcus Drymon, Assistant Extension Professor at Mississippi State University Marine Fisheries Specialist and Dr. Greg Skomal, an accomplished marine biologist who we interviewed for Shark Week, were recently able to recover a lost shark tag thanks to NOAA’s Animal Telemetry Network (ATN) and an Argos goniometer loaned…
Rocketlab launch

21.09.2022 Argos news & events Argos metamorphosis update: not one but two Argos-4 instruments to be launched in the coming weeks!

We are just few weeks away from the planned launches of two Argos-4 payloads, an advanced satellite instrument that will track the movement of wildlife, as well as critical environmental data around the world. Argos-4 will ensure the continuity of the Argos-2 & Argos-3 missions while…
a Hudsonian godwit equipped with an Argos PTT

12.09.2022 Animal tracking applications Hudsonian godwits cross the windy ocean

The Hudsonian godwit is a migratory bird travelling a marathon, transoceanic flight from South America to Arctic or sub-Arctic North America. Their flight paths tracked using Argos, in relation with variable winds, can help understand how they travel such long distances. Photo: a Hudsonian godwit equipped with an…
Leafscale Gulper Shark

01.09.2022 Argos news & events Dog recovers lost Argos tag from a Leafscale Gulper Shark

At the end of March 2022, Cristina Rodríguez-Cabello researcher of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) in Santander (Spain), was working at her Centre when she received an unexpected yet exciting call from France. One of the archival tags she had attached to a deep-water shark…
a lake charr with an Argos archival tag

31.08.2022 Animal tracking applications Lake charr ecotypes’ habitats differ

Lake charrs are freshwater fish found in the Laurentian Great Lakes (North America), among others. They nearly disappeared, but restoration was successful at least in Lake Superior. Understanding the different habitats of the lake charr ecotypes can help in restoring them in all of the Great Lakes. Photo:…
A Philippine eagle in the wild (left) and after being fitted with a satellite transmitter

17.08.2022 Birds tracking Philippine eagles forage in human fragmented forests

Protecting critically endangered species aims to better assess where and when the main threats to these species occurs. Using satellite telemetry technology, Philippine eagles were tracked to define their home range and habitat use across their tropical forest breeding grounds and within human-occupied areas. Main Photo: A Philippine…
A reddish egret with an Argos PTT

01.08.2022 Birds tracking Identifying reddish egrets stopover sites to protect their migrations

Migratory birds, especially those which depend on coastal wetland habitats, are among the threatened animals. Identifying the key sites in their life cycle, including the stopovers used during migration, is important for  conservation efforts. Argos satellite telemetry can help by providing locations along the migrations and measuring residency…
Shark in the water

26.07.2022 Argos news & events Shark week: Dr. Gregory Skomal talks tagging and what the future constellation will bring

“I think anyone who’s used Argos will have to admit that they’ve learned something revelatory. The more we use Argos to track animal movements, the more we see that their movements are far more complex and of greater scale than we ever imagined.” Featured photo credit:…
a loggerhead turtle with an Argos PTT

19.07.2022 Animal tracking applications Japan-nesting loggerhead turtles foraging habitats

Loggerhead turtles can forage either on continental shelf or in the open ocean. The North Pacific population, nesting whole in Japan show both behaviours. Their foraging areas are pinpointing using isotopic analysis and Argos tracking, to better define conservation measures. Photo: a loggerhead turtle with an Argos PTT…
a female juvenile reef manta ray

05.07.2022 Animal tracking applications A nursery for juvenile reef manta rays

Reef manta rays are a vulnerable species. They grow up in protected shallow areas such as lagoons. Tracking them with Argos can help to confirm that a given lagoon is a nursery for this species   Photo: a female juvenile reef manta ray sized 220 cm (wingspan; they…
a juvenile grey-headed albatross close to fledging with an Argos PTT

20.06.2022 Animal tracking applications Juvenile grey-headed albatrosses learn to decode their environment

Uncovering how young animals learn to move efficiently and find food, is one of the many possible uses of satellite telemetry. Here, researchers from British Antarctic Survey satellite-tracked juvenile grey-headed albatrosses to understand the effect of environmental conditions during this critical early stage of development. Photo: a…
a juvenile harp seal with an Argos PTT

13.06.2022 Marine animals tracking Harp seal juveniles learn on their own

Harp seal juveniles leave their native ice pack to forage and migrate on their own. Tracking them and recording their dive can help understand how they manage their first year. Ultimately, the question is their plasticity with respect to environmental changes. Photo: a juvenile harp seal with…
Charles Drieu La Rochelle

09.06.2022 Argos news & events How can CLS support your daily operations with Argos?

This month we’ve decided to take you back stage to meet Charles Drieu La Rochelle, member of the user support team in France, to find out more about CLS Group’s excellent customer care. What are the most frequently asked questions? When is the team available? Charles tells us…
kineis tests

31.05.2022 Argos news & events Argos metamorphosis update: Full-scale testing of Kinéis’ 25 nanosats has begun!

Ever wondered how small tags like the one on this cuckoo can communicate with satellites that are up to 650 km away? It all comes down to the highly sensitive receivers that make the Argos system so unique. The slightest radiofrequency interference between the different instruments…
An Egyptian goose with an Argos PTT in flight

25.05.2022 Birds tracking How do Egyptian geese find their way?

One of the mysteries of migrant animals is their ability to find their way back and forth during their long-range travels. Several hypothesis were tested on Egyptian geese to try to understand their navigation capacity. It seems they learn their way around.   Photo: an Egyptian goose with…
An eel in the sea with a pop-up tag

10.05.2022 Marine animals tracking How many Mediterranean migrating eels are eaten on their way to the Atlantic?

Analysis of migrating eels’ tracks can provide with estimate of the rate of predation on them. It seems that half of the migrating silver eels released on the French Mediterranean coast can be consumed by marine mammals before reaching the Gibraltar Straight. Assessing such natural threats to an…
An arctic hare with an Argos PTT

20.04.2022 Terrestrial mammals tracking Are the Arctic hares migrating?

A number of animals are migratory. The hares do not leap to mind when listing migrating animals. However, satellite telemetry confirms arctic hares very probably migrate in Northern Canadian Arctic. A lot of questions have still to be answered on these potential migrations.   Photo: An arctic…
A loggerhead turtle being released with an Argos PTT

14.04.2022 Marine animals tracking Turtles in the Bay of Biscay

Juvenile sea turtles are cared and rehabilitated at Aquarium La Rochelle, in France. Since 2008, a few of them were equipped with Argos PTTs before being released. Analysis of their tracks could help understand if they were trapped in a nutrient-rich but cold in winter Bay of Biscay,…
a red kite

31.03.2022 Birds tracking Red Kites wintering in Spain

Red kites are medium-sized partially migratory raptor. They often winter in Spain, but their behaviour there and during those non-breeding periods have not been extensively studied using satellite telemetry. A team used PTTs to understand better this season for those raptors, and consider what will become of them…
king penguins

14.03.2022 Birds tracking A new king penguin colony in Magellan Strait?

King penguins are living around Antarctica, breeding on some of the sub-Antarctic islands. A new colony seems to have been established in Magellan strait, showing the high plasticity of the species. Argos enables to better understand the new colony behaviour. Photo: four study king penguins in different positions…

02.03.2022 Marine animals tracking Identifying whale migration routes in the global oceans

WWF has just published a report using 30 years of tracking for a meta-analysis of whale migration routes over all the oceans. This map of “migration highways” should help in protecting whales in general, but also the whole oceanic ecosystem, since they are a key species in its…
A juvenile black-tailed godwit

18.02.2022 Birds tracking Juveniles black-tailed godwit tracked

Tracking a European shorebird called the Black-tailed godwit (Limosa l. limosa) has previously revealed that different populations of godwits have different migratory behaviours (see Black-tailed godwits’ different migration behaviours). Those findings also hinted that inexperience or lack of shared experience might be the cause behind…
a sea turtle with an Argos PTT

02.02.2022 Animal tracking applications Sea turtles in tropical cyclones

Collecting sea turtle-borne temperature and depth sensor data with Argos satellite telemetry tags helps to sample the first 100 m layer of tropical oceans, where tropical storms and cyclones take their energy. It also enables to understand the behaviour of sea turtles trapped in extreme events such as…
A ringed seal equipped with a data logger

31.01.2022 Marine animals tracking Ringed seals in a Svalbard lagoon

Ringed seals are dependent on sea ice. Throughout the Arctic, including around the Svalbard Archipelago, sea ice is declining rapidly, thus threatening these seals. Their use of a coastal lagoon was studied over several seasons using Argos satellite telemetry, to examine if this kind of habitat could constitute…
great knot with a tag

25.01.2022 Animal tracking applications The Hong Kong Bird watching society shares their experience with Argos to help understand migration routes and stopover sites of the Great Knot

The Great Knot is an endangered shorebird and a long-distance migrant. Its activity was found to be mainly along the coast and was suspected to have few stopovers; while juveniles were recorded moving approximately 3,000 km within ten days (Tomkovich, 1997). While we know the Great Knot lives…
A far eastern curlew with an Argos PTT

17.01.2022 Birds tracking Full annual cycle tracking helps to explain differences in population trends of far eastern curlew

The far eastern curlew is a large shorebird, migrating between Australia and far-east Asia. Some of its populations are more endangered than others. Understanding why this might be is helped by satellite telemetry, including Argos techniques.   Photo: A far eastern curlew with an Argos PTT (the antenna…
a polar bear with a satellite telemetry collar

06.01.2022 Animal tracking applications Polar bears tracked for more than 30 years in the Beaufort Sea

Polar bear’s foraging success is dependent on the presence of sea ice.  Arctic sea ice, however, is rapidly decreasing in extent and thickness, and summer open-water periods are lengthening. As polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea have been tracked using satellite telemetry for more than 30 years,…
A pod of beluga whales in the Pacific

17.12.2021 Animal tracking applications Argos helps in detecting beluga whale feeding sounds

Argos can help in understanding an endangered species behavior, by providing with locations but also collecting other data measured by a wide range of possible sensors. Some populations of beluga whales in Alaska were studied combining Argos, sound recorders and stomach temperature transmitters to pinpoint their echolocation sounds…