The Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observing System (GLATOS) is collaborating with OTN to integrate Great Lakes acoustic telemetry data with the OTN data warehouse. GLATOS’ database will become an official OTN Partner Node, operating as an autonomous acoustic telemetry database, able to leverage OTN’s data management toolset and contribute to OTN’s global tracking database.
“The data available from the GLATOS research work will become readily accessible to members of GLATOS and the global community, ensuring maximum use and benefit is derived from it,” said Dr. Fred Whoriskey, Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network.
Scientists at GLATOS, originally an American research initiative begun in 2010, have already coalesced into a pan-Laurentian Great Lakes network of Canadian and U.S. freshwater acoustic telemetry researchers studying fish movements. Scientists use electronic transmitters (tags) to track fishes’ movements, migrations, behaviours, and survival. Fixed, underwater receivers log information from the tags for later retrieval and analysis by scientists.
Researchers from several regional groups tracking the movements of aquatic animals in North America are working to create a continental-scale acoustic telemetry network by sharing data among groups, like GLATOS, deploying compatible acoustic tracking equipment.
“There are many benefits to a networking approach,” said Dr. Charles Krueger, GLATOS Director. “Sharing of expertise, the ability to track animals over much greater distances than a single research group might be able to cover, the ability to compare and contrast results from different studies, the ability to track the shifts in animal movement as our climate evolves over time, all result in bigger bang for the dollars spent.”
Acoustic telemetry works in both fresh and salt water, and is ideal to follow the movements of diadromous animals like salmon and eels that spend portions of their life in both fresh and salt water. One of the most important contributions of the secure storage of data and developing international linkages is the power it will bring to scientists to understand how animal movements and distributions are changing in the face of changing environments. This information may help mitigate impacts to fisheries due to climate change and other developments.
“GLATOS is helping to lead the critical linking of fresh- and inland-water systems with the oceans, for a truly global biological aquatic observation system,” said Whoriskey. “The Ocean Tracking Network is working globally to network acoustic telemetry researchers through compatible data storage and exchange systems.”