There have been enormous advances in the devices available to track individual marine mammals and seabirds over the last 25 years.

GLS daily locations for a complete year form one birdOur early studies in the Moray Firth used VHF-tags to provide new insights into the activity pattern and forgaing distribution of harbour seals, while time-depth-recorders provided additional information on diving patterns. Today, much finer scale data can be obtained via the mobile phone network using GSM-GPS tags produced by colleagues at the Sea Mammal Research Unit.

GPS data loggers are now small enough to be used to track fulmars while they are foraging to collect food for their chicks. Collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey has also allowed us to use their bird tracking loggers to track fulmars throughout the year, revealing that many birds make regular trips across the North Atlantic and into arctic waters.

Example studies

Thompson, P.M., Mackay, A., Tollit, D.J, Enderby, S. & Hammond, P.S. (1998) The influence of body size and sex on the characteristics of harbour seal foraging trips. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 76: 1044-1053.

Tollit, D.J., Black, A.D., Thompson, P.M., Mackay, A., Corpe, H.M., Wilson, B., Van Parijs, S.M., Grellier, K. & Parlane, S. (1998) Variations in harbour seal diet and dive-depths in relation to foraging habitat. Journal of Zoology, 244: 209-222.