Review Paper

Trends in tagging of marine mammals: a review of marine mammal biologging studies

  • T McIntyre


The number of scientific papers resulting from biologging instruments deployed on marine mammals is increasing as improved technologies result in smaller devices and improved sensor-, storage- and transmission capabilities. I undertook a comprehensive review of papers resulting from biologging deployments on free-ranging marine mammals between 1965 and 2013 (n = 620) to summarise where (e.g. on which species, as well as in which geographic areas) deployment efforts were focused, the impacts of the resulting papers, and where there are shortcomings in the literature. Species-, sex- and age-class biases were evident in terms of animals instrumented. Also, large proportions of the papers resulted from deployments on a small number of species (particularly among the pinnipeds) and were more often on adult females than other demographic classes. The mean impact of papers (as assessed using journal impact factors and numbers of citations) was consistent over time, and was influenced by the number of species studied, sample sizes and instrument capabilities. I found a paucity of papers addressing device influences on animals, as well as studies with explicit conservation and/or management implications. This review aims to increase awareness of marine mammal biologging data already collected, stimulate appropriate further studies, and encourage the reuse of existing data.

Keywords: animal-borne devices, cetaceans, pinnipeds, satellite tracking, time–depth recorders

African Journal of Marine Science 2014, 36(4): 409–422

Author Biography

T McIntyre
Mammal Research Institute, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Hatfield, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X