STRAITS: Strategic Infrastructure for Improved Animal Tracking
STRAITS is a four-year EU-funded infrastructure project that will instrument all four corners of Europe to monitor the movements of aquatic animals at a pan-European scale.
The protection and management of marine species and habitats requires a need for the creation of robust evidence-based methods and integrated platforms to monitor life under water. As such, there is a need to undertake research projects that are developed and implemented collaboratively, strategically, and at a sufficient scale. Animal tracking – the study of animal movements– offers one of the best ways to monitor animals across various spatiotemporal scales: from regional to continental or even global scales, and from minutes to decades.
Although animal tracking is not new, it is only recently that the technology has progressed to enable the tracking of animals over larger and longer time scales. This advancement has yielded key information about the biology and ecology of marine animals. Yet, much more knowledge could be gained if efforts to tag and detect animals were performed collaboratively, as part of a network. In many instances, animals move in regions where they are not detected simply because infrastructure to detect them is absent. In other instances, animals may move in regions that are instrumented to detect them, but researchers do not obtain that data because they do not collaborate, or are not aware that infrastructure is present.
STRAITS will deploy infrastructure to monitor animal movements using acoustic telemetry at four key locations in Europe: 1) the Danish Straits, 2) the North Channel, 3) the Strait of Gibraltar, and 4) the Strait of Bosphorus and Dardanelles. STRAITS will leverage ongoing acoustic telemetry tracking projects, expand efforts to connect tracking initiatives from across Europe, develop data management plans and networking to promote synergy and deliver data to national and international governing bodies. Coordinating aquatic animal tracking and environmental observation efforts at a scale that will be usable to make progress on international marine management and planning, is a major step towards an operational European Tracking Network (ETN) that contributes to major European biodiversity initiatives, conservation, and policy.
The STRAITS team consists of 10 world-leading organisations in the study of animal movement. Together, they will advance our understanding of aquatic animal movements in Europe and abroad, and change the way biodiversity is monitored in European waters.
Interested in the STRAITS infrastructure? Have a project you think would benefit from STRAITS? Send us an email to our communications manager (Kim Birnie-Gauvin) at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how!