Application of data loggers to seabirds
Seabirds have been instrumented with telemetry devices mainly since the 1970s to learn more about seabirds and their marine environment. In the beginning, devices have been very large so that they could hardly be fitted to the largest seabirds, mainly penguins. The miniaturization process in electronic technology effectively helped to reduce the size of such devices so that more and more species can now be worked with and more and more parameters can be measured.
Data loggers differ from other telemetry devices (e.g. radio-telemetry and satellite telemetry) in so far as they do not transmit information permanently or at a given interval but store information. These loggers have to be retrieved from the birds or from the sea to download the data to a computer. A brief overview of the history of this technology is given e.g. by Ropert-Coudert & Wilson (Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, 3: 437-444; 2005).
Examples of comprehensive studies are e.g. given in Grémillet et al. (Marine Ecology Progress Series, 268: 265-279; 2004), Weimerskirch et al. (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biological Science, 272: 53-61; 2005), Shaffer et al. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the US, 103: 12799-12802; 2006) and Garthe et al. (Deep-Sea Research II, 54: 311-320; 2007).
As part of the increasing demands to study seabirds at sea, at a time when they are usually out of sight and out of reach for researchers, conferences have been held recently. Within the so-called bio-logging science, or animal-attached remote sensing, people meet that work with seabirds, marine mammals, sea turtles and large fish. The results of studies with satellite telemetry, data loggers and other types of animal-attached devices have been provided e.g. at two major conferences, biologging1 and 2: http://polaris.nipr.ac.jp/~penguin/oogataHP/IndexC.html http://smub.st-and.ac.uk/Biologging/Proceedings.htm
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