ECOLOGY. Terrestrial animal tracking as an eye on life and planet

Science. 2015 Jun 12;348(6240):aaa2478. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa2478.


Moving animals connect our world, spreading pollen, seeds, nutrients, and parasites as they go about the their daily lives. Recent integration of high-resolution Global Positioning System and other sensors into miniaturized tracking tags has dramatically improved our ability to describe animal movement. This has created opportunities and challenges that parallel big data transformations in other fields and has rapidly advanced animal ecology and physiology. New analytical approaches, combined with remotely sensed or modeled environmental information, have opened up a host of new questions on the causes of movement and its consequences for individuals, populations, and ecosystems. Simultaneous tracking of multiple animals is leading to new insights on species interactions and, scaled up, may enable distributed monitoring of both animals and our changing environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Movement
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis