Potential utility of geomagnetic data for geolocation of demersal fishes in the North Pacific Ocean
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Potential utility of geomagnetic data for geolocation of demersal fishes in the North Pacific Ocean

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  • Journal Title:
    Animal Biotelemetry
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    Background Archival tags that measure the Earth’s magnetic field could provide a new geolocation method for demersal fishes in the North Pacific Ocean. However, the presence of local magnetic field anomalies caused by geological formations such as volcanic rock and temporal fluctuations from solar storms could complicate its use in some high-latitude areas of the North Pacific Ocean. We assessed the potential value of adding geomagnetic data to a depth-based state-space model for geolocation of demersal fishes in Glacier Bay National Park, USA, a high-latitude magnetic anomaly area. We developed a high-resolution (100 m) magnetic field map of the study area and assessed in situ tag resolution by deploying 5 geomagnetic archival tags on a stationary mooring for 8 months. We compared performance of 4 theoretical geomagnetic tag measurement resolutions (low = ± 1000 nT, medium = ± 500 nT, high = ± 300 nT, and very high = ± 150 nT), 2 map resolutions (coarse- or fine-scale), and 5 methods of geomagnetic variance specification by estimating locations of simulated random walk trajectories under the different treatment scenarios using a hidden Markov model. Results Geomagnetic data improved model performance for both fine-scale and coarse-scale magnetic maps when tag resolutions were medium to very high and geomagnetic variance specification was based on error between measured and mapped values instead of study area attributes such as slope or roughness. Overall, the best model performance was observed for the highest tag resolution, the fine-scale map, and variance based on anomaly magnitudes. However, the coarse-scale map with a constant variance of 165 nT resulted in improvements over depth alone for all tag resolutions. In situ testing of mooring data suggests that the precision of the geomagnetic archival tags was comparable to the low and medium tag measurement resolutions tested in simulations, but variation in performance was high among tags. Conclusions Our results suggest that inclusion of geomagnetic data could improve geolocation of demersal fishes in the North Pacific Ocean, but improvements to geomagnetic tags and additional information on magnetic field values measured at the seafloor compared to the sea surface are needed to ensure its utility.
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    Animal Biotelemetry, 8(1)
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    CC BY
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