3.5 million euros to track aquatic life in Europe
The new project funded by the European Union, STRAITS, will equip the four corners of Europe with acoustic receivers to track aquatic life in an effort to better understand their biology and ecology, and aid in the conservation and management of the oceans.
The Algarve Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR-Algarve) is one of the partners in this project, which aims to join efforts between several institutions and work collaboratively to study the movement of marine animals using acoustic telemetry.
Within the framework of the European Tracking Network, the project will deploy acoustic telemetry arrays in four major swimways in Europe: the Danish Straits in the Baltic Sea, the North Channel in the Celtic Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Strait of Bosphorus and Dardanelles in the Black Sea (see map ). STRAITS will also leverage ongoing acoustic telemetry tracking projects, expand efforts to connect tracking initiatives from across Europe, develop data management plans and networking to promote synergy and deliver data to national and international governing bodies.
The CCMAR-Algarve researcher David Abecasis says that "given our location, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean, the CCMAR acoustic telemetry network plays a key role, together with the receivers to be installed in the Strait of Gibraltar, in understanding the movements of large migratory species such as bluefin tuna. Furthermore, this project will allow us to expand the existing network of acoustic receivers in the Algarve, creating synergies with other ongoing projects.
Animal tracking is one of the best ways to monitor the movement of fish and other marine animals, from a smaller scale (regional level) to a global scale. Advances in technology allow this monitoring to be carried out over larger areas and over longer timescales, contributing with key information about the biology and ecology of these animals.
The STRAITS project is funded by the Horizon Europe Framework Programme and involves a team of 10 world-leading organisations in acoustic telemetry. Together, the partners will advance the understanding of aquatic animal movements in Europe and abroad, and change the way biodiversity is monitored in European waters, thereby contributing to conservation and policy initiatives.