3.5 million euros to track aquatic life in Europe | Flanders Marine Institute

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3.5 million euros to track aquatic life in Europe

Kongens Lyngby (2023.02.24) – A new EU-funded project, STRAITS, will equip all four corners of Europe to track aquatic life in an effort to better understand their biology and ecology, and aid in conservation and management.

Press release: Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

STRAITS – Strategic Infrastructure for improved animal Tracking in European Seas – is a four-year project funded by the Horizon Europe Framework Program, under the call “Developing the European research infrastructures landscape, maintaining global leadership”, that will equip major swimways across Europe with equipment to monitor the movements of aquatic animals at a pan-European scale.

Animal tracking – the study of animal movements– offers one of the best ways to monitor animals 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 enabled the tracking of animals over larger areas and longer timescales. This advancement has yielded key information about the biology and ecology of these animals, but much more knowledge could be gained if efforts to tag and detect animals were performed collaboratively, as part of a network. This is one of the primary goals of STRAITS.

Within the framework of the European Tracking Network (www.europeantrackingnetwork.org) – a Europe-wide network of tracking equipment, researchers and experience – STRAITS will deploy acoustic telemetry arrays in four major swimways in Europe 1) the Danish Straits, between the Kattegat Sea and the Baltic Sea, 2) the North Channel in the Celtic Sea, 3) the Strait of Gibraltar, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, and 4) the Strait of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea (see map). STRAITS will also 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.

This is a major win for the monitoring of aquatic life in Europe. Identifying migration routes, estimating survival, locating spawning grounds, determining the timing major lifestage transitions, assessing threats – these are all questions we can begin to address, at the scope that is necessary to draw meaningful conclusions for the conservation of aquatic life,” says Dr. Kim Birnie-Gauvin from the Technical University of Denmark, and one of the project partners.

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, thereby contributing to conservation and policy initiatives.

To find out more, visit www.europeantrackingnetwork.org/straits

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Video: Acoustic Telemetry - how it works and why it's useful op YouTube

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