Global tracking of shark movements, behaviour and ecology: A review of the renaissance years of satellite tagging studies, 2010–2020
Satellite telemetry as a tool in marine ecological research continues to adapt and grow and has become increasingly popular in recent years to study shark species on a global scale. A review of satellite tag application to shark research was published in 2010, provided insight to the advancements in satellite shark tagging, as well as highlighting areas for improvement. In the years since, satellite technology has continued to advance, creating smaller, longer lasting, and more innovative tags, capable of expanding the field. Here we review satellite shark tagging studies to identify early successes and areas for rethinking moving forward. Triple the amount of shark satellite tagging studies have been conducted during the decade from 2010 to 2020 than ever before, tracking double the number of species previously tagged. Satellite telemetry has offered increased capacity to unravel ecological questions including predator and prey interactions, migration patterns, habitat use, in addition to monitoring species for global assessments. However, <17% of the total reviewed studies directly produced results with management or conservation outcomes. Telemetry studies with defined goals and objectives produced the most relevant findings for shark conservation, most often in tandem with secondary metrics such as fishing overlap or management regimes. To leverage the power of telemetry for the benefit of shark species, it remains imperative to continue improvements to tag function and maximize the outputs of tagging efforts including increasing data sharing capacity and standardization across the field, as well as spatial and species coverage. Ultimately, this review offers a status report of shark satellite tagging and the ways in which the field can continue to progress.