All at sea with animal tracks; methodological and analytical solutions for the resolution of movement

Rory P. Wilson*, Nikolai Liebsch, Ian M. Davies, Flavio Quintana, Henri Weimerskirch, Sandra Storch, Klaus Lucke, Ursula Siebert, Solvin Zankl, Gabriele Müller, Ilka Zimmer, Alejandro Scolaro, Claudio Campagna, Jochen Plötz, Horst Bornemann, Jonas Teilmann, Clive R. McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Determining the movement of marine animals is logistically difficult and is currently primarily based on VHF and satellite-tracking telemetry, GPS, acoustic telemetry, and geolocation, all of which have substantial limitations in accurately locating the fine-scale movements of these animals. A recent development-that of dead-reckoning-is being increasingly used to examine the fine-scale movement of animals underwater. The advantages and drawbacks of this approach are quite different to those incurred by the other methods. This paper considers the advances that dead-reckoning can bring to the study of the often cryptic movement and behaviour of marine animals at sea. Methods used in determining position via dead-reckoning are presented and consideration is given to results derived from the use of dead-reckoning on cetaceans, pinnipeds, penguins and sea turtles; these are complemented by data on cormorants and albatrosses acquired using GPS systems. Suggestions are made as to how movement data derived from these devices can be analysed using indices that allow interpretation over a large variety of temporal and spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Data loggers
  • Dead-reckoning
  • Habitat selection
  • Navigation
  • Telemetry
  • Track tortuosity


Dive into the research topics of 'All at sea with animal tracks; methodological and analytical solutions for the resolution of movement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this