A case for restoring unity between biotelemetry and bio-logging to enhance animal tracking research

Steven J. Cooke, Robert J. Lennox, Jacob W. Brownscombe, Sara J. Iverson, Frederick G. Whoriskey, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Nigel E. Hussey, Glenn T. Crossin, Brendan J. Godley, Robert Harcourt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Monitoring animals with electronic tags is an increasingly important tool for fundamental and applied ecological research. Based on the size of the system under study, the ability to recapture the animal, and research medium (e.g., aerial, freshwater, saltwater, terrestrial), tags selected may either log data in memory (bio-logging), transmit it to a receiver or satellite (biotelemetry), or have a hybrid design. Over time, we perceive that user groups are diverging based on increasing use of technology specific terms, favouring either bio-logging or biotelemetry. It is crucial to ensure that a divide does not become entrenched in the community because it will likely hinder efforts to advance field and analytical methods and reduce accessibility of animal tracking with electronic tags to early-career and new researchers. We discuss the context for this emerging problem and the evidence that this is manifesting within the scientific community. Finally, we suggest how the animal tracking community may work to address this issue to maximize the benefits of information transfer and integration between users of the two technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1260-1265
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Animal tracking
  • Ecology
  • Electronic tagging
  • Environmental monitoring
  • User communities


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