Chapter

Electronic Tagging and Tracking in Marine Fisheries

Volume 1 of the series Reviews: Methods and Technologies in Fish Biology and Fisheries pp 343-367

Ability of Archival Tags to Provide Estimates of Geographical Position Based on Light Intensity

  • Michael K. MusylAffiliated withJoint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii at Manoa Email author 
  • , Richard W. BrillAffiliated withJoint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii at ManoaNational Marine Fisheries Service, Honolulu Lab/Southwest Fisheries Science Center
  • , Daniel S. CurranAffiliated withJoint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • , John S. GunnAffiliated withCSIRO Marine Research
  • , Jason R. HartogAffiliated withCSIRO Marine Research
  • , Roger D. HillAffiliated withWildlife Computers
  • , David W. WelchAffiliated withPacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • , J. Paige EvesonAffiliated withPacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans CanadaCSIRO Marine Research
  • , Christofer H. BoggsAffiliated withNational Marine Fisheries Service, Honolulu Lab/Southwest Fisheries Science Center
    • , Russell E. BrainardAffiliated withNational Marine Fisheries Service, Honolulu Lab/Southwest Fisheries Science Center

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

We tested the ability of archival tags and their associated algorithms to estimate geographical position based on ambient light intensity by attaching six tags (three tags each from Northwest Marine Technologies [NMT] and Wildlife Computers [WC]) at different depths to a stationary mooring line in the Pacific Ocean (approx. 166°42′W, 24°00′N), for approximately one year (29-Aug-98 to 16-Aug-99). Upon retrieval, one tag each from the two vendors had malfunctioned: from these no data (NMT) or only partial data (WC) could be downloaded. An algorithm onboard the NMT tag automatically calculated geographical positions. For the WC tags, three different algorithms were used to estimate geographical positions from the recorded light intensity data. Estimates of longitude from all tags were significantly less variable than those for latitude. The mean absolute error for longitude estimates from the NMT tags ranged from 0.29 to 0.35°, and for the WC tags from 0.13 to 0.25°. The mean absolute error in latitude estimates from the NMT tags ranged from 1.5 to 5.5°, and for the WC tags from 0.78 to 3.50°. Ambient weather conditions and water clarity will obviously introduce errors into any geoposition algorithm based on light intensity. We show that by applying objective criteria to light level data, outliers can be removed and the variability of geographical position estimates reduced. We conclude that, although archival tags are suitable for questions of ocean basin-scale movements, they are not well suited for studies of daily fine scale movement patterns because of the likely magnitude of position estimate errors. For studies of fine scale movements in relation to specific oceanographic conditions, forage densities and distance scales of 100 km or less, other methods (e.g. acoustic tracking) remain the tool of choice.

Key words

archival tags ambient light level geoposition algorithm light attenuation positional errors crepuscular Equinox pelagic fishes