[MARMAM] Marine mammal marking effects publication

Kristen Walker kristenw3 at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 26 11:38:09 PST 2011

Dear colleagues, 

The following article has just been published online in Wildlife Research: 
Walker, K. A., Trites, A. W., Haulena, M., and Weary, D. M. 2011. A review of the effects of different marking and tagging techniques on marine mammals. Wildlife Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR10177

Wildlife research
often requires marking and tagging animals to collect data on survival,
reproduction, movement, behavior and physiology. Identification of individual
marine mammals can be done using tags, brands, paint, dye, photogrammetry,
telemetry and other techniques. An analysis of peer-reviewed articles published
from January 1980 to April 2011 addressing the effects of marking revealed a
preponderance of studies focused on short-term effects such as injuries and
behavioral changes. Some marking techniques were reported to cause pain and to
change swimming and haul out behavior, maternal attendance, and duration of
foraging trips. However, marking has typically not been found to affect
survival. No published research has addressed other possible long-term effects
of marking related to injuries or pain responses. Studies of the more immediate
effects of marking (mostly related to externally
attached devices such as radio transmitters) have shown a variety of
different types and magnitudes of responses. It is important to note that
studies failing to find treatment differences are less likely to be published,
meaning that this and any other review based on published literature may be a
biased sample of all research conducted on the topic. Publishing results that
found no or low impacts (i.e., best practices) as well as those that found
significant impacts on animals should both be encouraged. Future research under
more controlled conditions is required to document acute effects of marking,
including injury and pain, and to better understand longer-term effects on
health, reproduction, and survival. We recommend that studies using marked
animals standardize their reports with added detail on methodology, monitoring
and sampling design and address practices used to minimize the impact of
marking on marine mammals.    

For pdf reprints of the article e-mail walkerkr at interchange.ubc.ca
Kristen Walker
Kristen A. Walker, PhDUniversity of British ColumbiaAnimal Welfare Program2357 Main Mall, Suite 180Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 Canadaemail: walkerkr at interchange.ubc.ca
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