Understanding How Ocean Animals Migrate – New Study Maps Movements Of Marine Megafauna

Source: Phys.org/King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Photo: Jakob Owens/Unsplash

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A whale and a turtle differ in size, shape and lifestyle but their patterns of movement are surprisingly similar, reveals the largest collection of movement data for a diverse group of large marine vertebrates.

A team of 58 researchers from nine countries and 45 research institutions has collated a satellite telemetry dataset for a diverse set of large marine megafauna. It includes more than 2.8 million locations from more than 2,600 tracked individual . And for some , it includes data from as long ago as 1985.

Knowing how megafauna move through coastal and oceanic environments will help marine managers to better understand the impacts of human activities on these animals and identify habitats for conservation, explains Carlos Duarte, a KAUST coauthor of the study, and cofounder of the international collaborative effort, the Marine Megafauna Movement Analytical Program.

The tracked animals included 50 types of marine megafauna that are evolutionarily separated by millions of years and use different modes of locomotion—they fly, swim, walk or paddle. The team monitored speed and  of species of turtles, sharks, dolphins, sea lions, whales and sea birds, such as penguins, gulls and shearwaters.

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Photo: Jakob Owens/Unsplash

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