Over the last decade, the Integrated Marine Observing System’s Animal Tracking Facility (formerly known as the Australian Animal Tracking And Monitoring System (AATAMS)) has established a permanent array of acoustic receivers around Australia to detect the movements of tagged marine animals in coastal waters. Simultaneously, the Animal Tracking Facility developed a centralised national database (https://animaltracking.aodn.org.au/) to encourage collaborative research across the user community and provide unprecedented opportunities to quantify individual behaviour across a broad range of taxa. Here we present the database and quality control procedures developed to collate 48.5 million valid detections from 1891 receiving stations. This dataset consists of detection data for 3523 tags deployed on 117 species (fish, sharks, rays, reptiles, and mammals), with distances travelled ranging from a few to thousands of kilometres. This dataset of acoustic detections constitutes a valuable resource facilitating meta-analysis of animal movement, distributions, and habitat use, and is important for relating species distribution shifts with environmental covariates.
Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is enabled by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). It is operated by a consortium of institutions as an unincorporated joint venture, with the University of Tasmania as Lead Agent. It is operated by a consortium of institutions as an unincorporated joint venture, with the University of Tasmania as Lead Agent.
Ocean Tracking Network (OTN): in-kind support
Historical duplicate transmitter IDs and tag transmission collisions caused by multiple transmitters within range of the same receiver or environmental noise can generate erroneous data thus entailing the development of statistical methods that automatically flag possible invalid detections. We developed a flexible quality control (QC) procedure for acoustic detection data that assesses, for each individual tag (only VEMCO tags were used in this study), the validity of detections based on a computed set of metrics and can be re-used for other acoustic telemetry networks. We applied this QC algorithm to the raw detections stored in the ATF back-end database. For researchers to re-use detection data easily we computed a field, ‘Detection_QC’, summarising the output of the five tests undertaken on individual detections, i.e. ‘FDA_QC’, ‘Distance_QC’, ‘Velocity_QC’, ‘DetectionDistribution_QC’, and ‘DistanceRelease_QC’. If five of these fields had a valid QC flag of 1, then ‘Detection_QC’ was assigned 1, meaning the detection is deemed ‘valid’. If only four of these fields had a QC flag of 1 then ‘Detection_QC’ = 2, meaning the detection is ‘likely to be valid’. Detections having three or less than three of these five fields with a QC flag of 1 were considered ‘likely invalid’ or ‘invalid’, respectively.