An Archival Tag for Monitoring Key Behaviours (Feeding and Spawning) in Fish

  • J.D. Metcalfe
  • M.C. Fulcher
  • S.R. Clarke
  • M.J. Challiss
  • S. Hetherington
Part of the Reviews: Methods and Technologies in Fish Biology and Fisheries book series (REME, volume 9)


Feeding is a key factor affecting the growth, survival and reproductive success of marine fish. Understanding feeding in relation to spatial movements and habitat use is therefore key to the realistic parameterisation of models of fish populations and ecosystem dynamics. But obtaining information about feeding from fish in the wild over extended time scales is problematic.

To address this problem, we have developed a modification of the Cefas G5 archival tag that can monitor feeding. Our approach is based on the inter-mandibular angle sensor (IMASEN) and used previously with penguins in which jaw movements were measured by monitoring the relative movement between a small Neodymium disc magnet and a Hall-effect magnetic field sensor.

The new tag has a maximum data logging frequency of 30 Hz, a sensor resolution of 12 bit and a memory of 16 MB, sufficient to store ∼96 h of data when logged at 30 Hz. The flexible data logging capabilities of the G5 DST allow the tag to be programmed so that feeding trials can be extended over several months by programming the tags to log data for short periods (e.g. 1 h) on separate, pre-defined, occasions. In laboratory studies with Atlantic cod, jaw movement data were obtained during ventilating, yawning, coughing and, in one fish, during feeding. The results indicate that these different types of jaw movement can readily be discriminated and analysis suggests that feeding events should be detectable at lower data logging frequencies (e.g. 10 Hz). Studies are also being undertaken to monitor movements of the cloacae of female cod as a possible means of identifying spawning activity.


Cod Feeding behaviour Telemetry Archival tag Spawning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.D. Metcalfe
    • 1
  • M.C. Fulcher
    • 1
  • S.R. Clarke
    • 1
  • M.J. Challiss
    • 1
  • S. Hetherington
    • 1
  1. 1.Lowestoft LaboratoryCentre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture ScienceSuffolkUK

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