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Integr Zool. 2018 Sep 24. doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12364. [Epub ahead of print]

Why implantation of bio-loggers may improve our understanding of how animals cope within their natural environment.

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Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Département Ecologie, Physiologie et Ethologie, IPHC UMR 7178, F-67087 Strasbourg, France.
Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS, UMR 7372, F-79360 Villiers en Bois, France.
Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Principauté de Monaco.


Bio-loggers are miniaturized autonomous devices that record quantitative data on the state of free-ranging animals (e.g. behavior, position, and physiology) and their natural environment. This is especially relevant for species where direct visual observation is difficult or impossible. Today, ongoing technical development allows the monitoring of numerous parameters in an increasing range of species over extended periods. However, the external attachment of devices might affect various aspects of animal performance (energetics, thermoregulation, foraging as well as social and reproductive behavior), which ultimately affect fitness. External attachment might also increase entanglement risk and the conspicuousness of animals, leaving them more vulnerable to predation. By contrast, implantation of devices can mitigate many of these undesirable effects and might be preferable, especially for long-term studies, provided that the many challenges associated with surgical procedures can be mastered. Implantation may then allow us to gather data that might be impossible to obtain otherwise and thereby may provide new and ecologically relevant insights into the life of wild animals. Here, we (1) discuss the pros and cons of attachment methods, (2) highlight recent field studies that used implanted bio-loggers to address eco-physiological questions in a wide range of species, and (3) discuss logger implantation in the light of ethical considerations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


behavior; bio-logging; device implantation; eco-physiology; long-term deployment


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