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tisdag 7 oktober 2014

Bio-logging in Strasbourg

A rather big group of CAnMovians took part in the 5th Bio-logging Science Symposium, 22-26 September in Strasbourg, France. Susanne Åkesson had a talk about the Common swift studies and Tom Evans (Lesser black-backed gull foraging flight), Jannie Linnebjerg (Brünnich’s guillemot migration) and Götz Eichhorn (Lapwings with geolocators) contributed to the poster sessions. Andreas Nord and Fredrik Andreasson, new PhD student affiliated to CAnMove, dived into the field of body-temperature measurements, (Andreas even co-arranged a workshop on this subject). Johan Bäckman and Arne Andersson from the tech lab sneaked around among the 400 participants and 15 commercial exhibitors to try to figure out what the next innovation in bio-logger design will be.
The bio-logging symposium started off as a meeting ground for marine animal scientists, and the majority of the contributions are still within the field of whales, sharks and seals; animals that can carry huge amounts of sensors without getting problems with over-weight, a luxury situation compared to many of the projects in CAnMove.
There is a strong trend towards using accelerometers on all sorts of animals, either as a proxy for energy expenditure (the acronyms ODBA & VeDBA were heard at numerous occasions) or for monitoring behavior (often in conjunction with other types of sensors such as depth meters and gyroscopes). It seems like many researchers are working hard to designing accurate analysis tools for this kind of data. We will probably have to wait a little longer before good tools for general use are available.
Argos satellite telemetry is still the major backbone for transferring data from the animals to the researchers, although there are some alternatives coming up (e.g. using the mobile phone network).
We also learned that Strasbourg is a charming city and the traditional Alsatian dish Choucroute Garnie is nice but very filling!
//Arne Andersson

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