COVID-19 Intern'l biologging efforts

grant-humphriesGrant RW Humphries
  • 21 Jul

Posting on behalf of others:

Dear Seabirders,

We are writing to share information about a collaborative global bio-logging initiative we hope many of you will choose to support.

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.

You can read our recent commentary piece here:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-020-1237-z

This initiative has already garnered over 300 responses indicating the potential availability of data for > 150 species across > 200 populations. However, there is scope for further contribution from the seabird community.

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:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1WX2axPHMpzaCuKZ8CTvUVgA_t97J0n5YusWFSCNMqaI/viewform?edit_requested=true

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.

Thank you very much for your interest and support,

Fran Cagnacci, Matthias Loretto, and Christian Rutz

(email: covid19.biologging.initiative@gmail.com)