A novel approach to quantifying the spatiotemporal behavior of instrumented grey seals used to sample the environment

Laurie L. Baker*, Joanna E.Mills Flemming, Ian D. Jonsen, Damian C. Lidgard, Sara J. Iverson, W. Don Bowen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    59 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Paired with satellite location telemetry, animal-borne instruments can collect spatiotemporal data describing the animal’s movement and environment at a scale relevant to its behavior. Ecologists have developed methods for identifying the area(s) used by an animal (e.g., home range) and those used most intensely (utilization distribution) based on location data. However, few have extended these models beyond their traditional roles as descriptive 2D summaries of point data. Here we demonstrate how the home range method, T-LoCoH, can be expanded to quantify collective sampling coverage by multiple instrumented animals using grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) equipped with GPS tags and acoustic transceivers on the Scotian Shelf (Atlantic Canada) as a case study. At the individual level, we illustrate how time and space-use metrics quantifying individual sampling coverage may be used to determine the rate of acoustic transmissions received. Results: Grey seals collectively sampled an area of 11,308 km² and intensely sampled an area of 31 km² from June-December. The largest area sampled was in July (2094.56 km²) and the smallest area sampled occurred in August (1259.80 km²), with changes in sampling coverage observed through time. Conclusions: T-LoCoH provides an effective means to quantify changes in collective sampling effort by multiple instrumented animals and to compare these changes across time. We also illustrate how time and space-use metrics of individual instrumented seal movement calculated using T-LoCoH can be used to account for differences in the amount of time a bioprobe (biological sampling platform) spends in an area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number20
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalMovement Ecology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • animal movement
    • bioprobe
    • marine acoustics
    • ships of opportunity
    • ocean tracking network
    • Animal movement
    • Marine acoustics
    • Ocean tracking network
    • Ships of opportunity
    • Bioprobe


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