Animal lifestyle affects acceptable mass limits for attached tags
AuthorsWilson, Rory P.
Rose, Kayleigh A.
Holton, Mark D.
Marks, Nikki J.
Bennett, Nigel C.
Bell, Stephen H.
Twining, Joshua P.
Duarte, Carlos M.
Crofoot, Margaret C.
Arnould, John P. Y.
Allan, Blake M.
Whisson, Desley A.
Scantlebury, David M.
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE) Division
Marine Science Program
Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
KAUST Grant NumberKAUST Sensor Initiative
Online Publication Date2021-10-27
Print Publication Date2021-10-27
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/673021
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAnimal-attached devices have transformed our understanding of vertebrate ecology. To minimize any associated harm, researchers have long advocated that tag masses should not exceed 3% of carrier body mass. However, this ignores tag forces resulting from animal movement. Using data from collar-attached accelerometers on 10 diverse free-ranging terrestrial species from koalas to cheetahs, we detail a tag-based acceleration method to clarify acceptable tag mass limits. We quantify animal athleticism in terms of fractions of animal movement time devoted to different collar-recorded accelerations and convert those accelerations to forces (acceleration × tag mass) to allow derivation of any defined force limits for specified fractions of any animal's active time. Specifying that tags should exert forces that are less than 3% of the gravitational force exerted on the animal's body for 95% of the time led to corrected tag masses that should constitute between 1.6% and 2.98% of carrier mass, depending on athleticism. Strikingly, in four carnivore species encompassing two orders of magnitude in mass (ca 2–200 kg), forces exerted by ‘3%' tags were equivalent to 4–19% of carrier body mass during moving, with a maximum of 54% in a hunting cheetah. This fundamentally changes how acceptable tag mass limits should be determined by ethics bodies, irrespective of the force and time limits specified.
CitationWilson, R. P., Rose, K. A., Gunner, R., Holton, M. D., Marks, N. J., Bennett, N. C., … Scantlebury, D. M. (2021). Animal lifestyle affects acceptable mass limits for attached tags. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288(1961). doi:10.1098/rspb.2021.2005
SponsorsThis work benefitted by funding from: the CAASE project (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)) under the KAUST Sensor Initiative (R.P.W., R.G., M.H., C.M.D.); the Royal Society/Wolfson Laboratory refurbishment scheme (R.P.W.); the Department of Learning and the Challenge Funding, and access provided by the National Trust and Forest Service NI (D.M.S., J.P.T.); the Vice Deanship of Research Chairs at the King Saud University, Saudi Arabia (A.A., D.M.S., N.C.B.); The Royal Society 2009/R3 JP090604 (D.M.S.); Natural Environment Research Council NE/I002030/1 (D.M.S.); the Department for Economy Global Challenges Research Fund (D.M.S.); the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Northern Ireland (currently the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) through various studentships (D.M.S., N.J.M.); the Department for the Economy studentship to J.P.T. (D.M.S., N.J.M.); the National Science Foundation IIS-1514174, IOS-1250895 (M.C.C.); the Packard Foundation Fellowship 2016-65130 (M.C.C.); the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship endowed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (M.C.C.); Deakin University, the advanced research supporting the forestry and wood-processing sector's adaptation to global change and EVA4.0, no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000803 financed by OP RDE and supported by grant QK1910462.
PublisherThe Royal Society