[MARMAM] Biologging Societies COVID19 initiative

Mark Hindell mark.hindell at utas.edu.au
Tue Aug 11 20:48:49 PDT 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have devastating impact around the world. In this time of human tragedy and hardship, there are indications that some animal populations respond to reduced levels of human activity, as many countries go into lockdown to control the spread of the virus. Bio-logging offers an opportunity to measure how COVID-19-related changes in human behaviour affect wildlife.

Members of the International Bio-Logging Society have decided to launch a collaborative global project to document this phenomenon, with researchers pooling their data and expertise. If you are potentially interested in participating in this project, please fill in our brief online questionnaire -- this should only take 10 minutes of your time. We are particularly keen to include marine mammal data in the project.

Please note that, at this early planning stage, we wish to take stock of what data are available: there are no restrictions with regards to locality, taxa studied (marine/terrestrial, birds/mammals, etc.), bio-logging approaches used (movement, activity, physiology, etc.), sample size, and likelihood of local COVID-19 effects.

We are aware that there are other related initiatives underway and are keen to coordinate efforts. In fact, we have already agreed to collaborate with colleagues from the Max Planck-Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement and Global Change, and the Movebank repository for animal tracking data. We are also coordinating with the team that led a recent study on terrestrial mammal movement using GPS data (Tucker et al. 2018, Science 359, 466-469), and with the PAN-Environment working group (which plans to collate a broad range of data). If you are involved in a project with similar objectives, you can use the final comment field in the online questionnaire to let us know.

We believe that the international bio-logging community can make a valuable contribution during these extraordinary times, and we hope that many of you will decide to join this global effort. If you are interested in participating we'd appreciate it if you can fill out the questionnaire on the COVID19.Bio-Logging.Initiative website:

Thank you very much for your interest and support,

Mark Hindell, Fran Cagnacci, Matthias Loretto, and Christian Rutz

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