ICES Annual Science Conference 2017

Theme session D

From iconic to overlooked species: How (electronic) tags improve our understanding of marine ecosystems and their inhabitants

Tuesday 19 September, 10:30–12:30 & 14:30–16:00

Room: Plenary room A, B, C, D

​​​​The use of both external and internal archival electronic tags has allowed for many physiological and environmental parameters to be measured directly by various marine organisms. Increasingly, advanced and miniaturized technology allows tagging of not only large but also small to medium sized species. Tags have generally progressed from external badges requiring the reporting of recapture towards sophisticated electronic sensors recording a wide range of measurements. Depending on the type of tag, the data can be transmitted, via satellite, to the scientist from anywhere in the world. Beyond traditional growth and mortality estimations, such data can now be used for better estimating seasonal distribution, migrations, and homing and nursery grounds of both coastal and oceanic species, amongst other things. Detailed information can also be gained on post-release mortality and behaviour of target, non-target, and by catch species in order to allow better management practices to be initiated in both harvest and non-harvest fisheries.

Behavioural studies are facilitated by electronic or acoustic tags revealing things like habitat use, aggregation behaviour, and diurnal activity patterns. By using the species itself as an alternative research platform to provide highly resolved in-situ data, researchers acquire information that is both more accurate and directly related to their question.

Although corresponding insights into species' ecology in relation to changes in their physical environment as well as to, for example, catch data, there can be significant improvements in the understanding of marine ecosystems and anthropogenic impacts. As a novel sampling approach (and processing technique), electronic, archival tags can, for example, contribute significant information to the ecosystem approach in fisheries research. 

Papers and presentations on the following topics are welcome across all disciplines: 


  • ​Novel insights into distribution, migration, and behaviour of marine organisms as revealed by electronic archival or other tags
  • Novel insights into fish and other marine organisms stock dynamics through alternative data recording and processing techniques originating from e.g. the use of (electronic) tags
  • Novel findings on biology and ecology of marine organisms within their ecosystems
  • The effects of anthropogenic impacts on marine organisms on individual or population level based on in-situ measurements from tags
  • The need for further research and development of techniques to refine our understanding of the inhabitants of different marine ecosystems


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Matthias Schaber (Germany)
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Theme session D

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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