Advances in Fish Tagging and Marking Technology

Trends in Acoustic Tracking: Where are the Fish Going and How Will We Follow Them?

Michelle R. Heupel and Dale M. Webbe


Abstract.—Acoustic tracking of fishes has been conducted for several decades, but within the last 20 years technology has advanced greatly and many researchers have shifted to long-term (multi-year) passive monitoring studies as opposed to active tracking. The number of publications produced using this approach has varied over the last 20 years with dramatic increases in publications using passive telemetry data since the late 1990s. Passive monitoring has been used to address a wide array of topics including behaviorally focused research into home range analysis and presence patterns, physiological studies and technical uses of equipment or methodology. Studies have included over 80 different species including invertebrates, teleost and chondrichthyan fishes, marine reptiles and marine mammals. Research has been conducted in marine, estuarine, and freshwater systems with varying habitats and substrate. This diverse set of studies represents a wide array of research applications and uses of this technology. This text examines the use of acoustic technology and passive acoustic arrays to define where the technology began, describe past advances and comments on the future use of this technology in marine and aquatic ecology.