Novel attachment methods for assessing activity patterns using triaxial accelerometers on stingrays in the Bahamas

Ward, Chris R.E., Bouyoucos, Ian A., Brooks, Edward J., and O'Shea, Owen R. (2019) Novel attachment methods for assessing activity patterns using triaxial accelerometers on stingrays in the Bahamas. Marine Biology, 166 (5). 53.

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The use of bio-logging devices is important for describing behaviour, energy expenditure and activity budgets of cryptic marine organisms. In stingrays, the physical deployment of bio-logging devices is challenging due to their lack of raised structures or hard tissue for attachment. Previous studies have used a range of attachment techniques on various locations, including the pectoral musculature of the discs, spiracular cartilage or tail musculature. For devices such as accelerometers that capture precise animal movement, appropriate attachment and retention are important for collecting data that are representative of animal movement. Here, we detail a novel attachment method for bio-logging devices on stingrays using triaxial accelerometers that were attached through the musculature at the base of the tail of ten wild southern stingrays (Hypanus americanus). Data returned upon recapture suggest that stingrays exhibited active and non-active states and had the highest activity levels (vector sum acceleration) during the night with no apparent tide-associated activity patterns. Tag retention was 100% for all recaptured individuals (n=8), with deployments lasting from 13 to 212 days. Wounds associated with the tagging process were completely healed for individuals that were recaptured after tag removal (n=3). High rates of tag retention, usability and ecological significance of retrieved data, and complete healing following tag removal suggest that the methods described herein should be considered when attaching small bio-logging devices to large demersal rays for short- (weeks)-to-medium-term (months) studies.

Item ID: 57911
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Funders: Cape Eleuthera Foundation, Australian Government Research Training Program
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2019 07:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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