Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Elucidating broad-scale movements of marine species using a state-wide acoustic telemetry array (#42)

Leanne Currey-Randall 1 , Adam Barnett 2 , Stacy Bierwagen 1 , Ross Dwyer 3 , Fabrice Jaine 4 5 , Charlie Huveneers 6 , Katya Abrantes 7 , Rob Harcourt 4 5 , Tracey Scott-Holland 8 , Nicolas Lubitz 9 , Carley Kilpatrick 10 , Daniel Smith 11 , Samuel Williams 12 , Michelle Heupel 13
  1. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Qld, Australia
  2. James Cook University, Cairns, Qld, Australia
  3. Global Change Ecology Research Group, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Qld, Australia
  4. Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Animal Tracking Facility, Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Mosman, NSW, Australia
  5. Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia
  6. Southern Shark Ecology Group, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  7. James Cook University, Cairns, Qld, Australia
  8. Shark Control Program, Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbance, Qld, Australia
  9. James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  10. Great Barrier Reef & Marine Parks Region, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service & Partnerships , Department of Environment and Science, Brisbane, Qld, Australia
  11. Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries , Brisbane, Qld, Australia
  12. Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries , Brisbane, Qld, Australia
  13. Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas, Australia

Over the past three decades acoustic telemetry has become a standard tool in the marine ecologist and fisheries scientist’s toolbox. In this time, acoustic receiver array designs have evolved from relatively small and localised arrays to covering much larger spatial scales including continental-scale and cross-boundary arrays. These arrays can act as collaborative networks through coordinated efforts and data sharing. Maintaining such broad-scale arrays is costly and time consuming, often requiring multiple collaborators, which can influence array design. With broad-scale arrays, more extensive movements can be detected, enabling researchers to address questions about species connectivity, stock structure and drivers of movement and migration. In 2020, the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Queensland Acoustic Telemetry Array was set up along the Queensland coast (spanning 16.7 degrees of latitude) to generate detailed insights into regional to broad-scale movements of marine species. This collaborative installation enhances the continental IMOS Acoustic Tracking Network infrastructure and involves the maintenance of receivers by 20 collaborators, with data hosted in a central database maintained by the IMOS Animal Tracking Facility. Since its inception, the new telemetry array has recorded over 2.5 million detections at 224 sites across Queensland waters, from over 920 animals and 40 marine species. Here we analysed Queensland-wide, multi-species and multi-project data to assess the efficacy of the new state-wide array configuration in capturing detailed, broad-scale movement data for species of management importance.  We highlight examples of movements that would remain undetected without such an extensive regional network, and record movements of some species greater than previously recorded on the east coast of Australia. Data generated by this program demonstrate the ability for broad-scale, single receiver, telemetry arrays to provide important information on regional connectivity, critical for spatial management of priority marine species and ecosystems.