Wildlife Science and Satellite Technology Intersect in Baltimore

Published November 11, 2014

By Eric Schwaab, Chief Conservation Officer

Sea turtles leave their nests and disappear into the ocean, only to return to those same beaches decades later.  Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf of Mexico and migrate great distances, but for many years, important nursery, travel and feeding areas were not well known to scientists. Today, many important questions that help us to better protect these and other species are being answered through the use of satellite tags. 

turtle release

The National Aquarium is delighted to be hosting the International User Conference on Argos Wildlife Applications November 18-20.  Argos is an international satellite system that is constantly tracking the movements of over 8,000 individual animals worldwide including birds, sharks, land and marine mammals, and even some of our own released Animal Rescue patients. This technology has allowed scientists to study the actions of little-understood species whose habits make them difficult to monitor.  

While it would be nearly impossible for a researcher to follow a small bird on an 18,000 mile migration, a tiny Argos transmitter can accompany the animal and help researchers to map their entire journey and understand the life history of the species.

During the conference, researchers and conservationists from across the globe will come together to highlight both the incredible discoveries they’ve made while utilizing Argos and the great value this data has to help inform conservation initiatives and policies. As we learn more about where these animals spend their time, we can better identify key habitat areas to protect.  

The National Aquarium team is delighted to have the opportunity to help facilitate the gathering of experts around such important topics.  Dialogue and information sharing amongst international scientists, conservation organizations, and policymakers provides a platform for making great strides towards addressing some of the most complicated issues facing our wildlife.

Stay tuned for more updates from the conference and to meet some of the featured scientists!    

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