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J Exp Biol. 2014 Feb 1;217(Pt 3):317-22. doi: 10.1242/jeb.093922.

From physiology to physics: are we recognizing the flexibility of biologging tools?

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  • 1School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


The remote measurement of data from free-ranging animals has been termed 'biologging' and in recent years this relatively small set of tools has been instrumental in addressing remarkably diverse questions--from 'how will tuna respond to climate change?' to 'why are whales big?'. While a single biologging dataset can have the potential to test hypotheses spanning physiology, ecology, evolution and theoretical physics, explicit illustrations of this flexibility are scarce and this has arguably hindered the full realization of the power of biologging tools. Here we present a small set of examples from studies that have collected data on two parameters widespread in biologging research (depth and acceleration), but that have interpreted their data in the context of extremely diverse phenomena: from tests of biomechanical and diving-optimality models to identifications of feeding events, Lévy flight foraging strategies and expanding oxygen minimum zones. We use these examples to highlight the remarkable flexibility of biologging tools, and identify several mechanisms that may enhance the scope and dissemination of future biologging research programs.


Acoustic telemetry; Energetics; Hypoxia; Logger; Penguin; Scaling; Seal; Shark; Stroke frequency; Temperature

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