Southern Rokhopper Penguins

The Challenge
The details of animal movements and behaviours, especially elusive species such as leopards and sharks, have long been a mystery to scientists, and to the public, because conventional methods are too coarse, or do not work in all environments. Such studies are, however, critical if we are to understand animals, particularly where animal conservation is concerned. 

The Method
Professor Rory Wilson pioneered the Smart ‘Daily Diary’ Tag, an animal tracking device which allows us an insight into the secret lives of some of the most elusive and endangered creatures on earth.

The tag records up to 400 data points per second and the data can be displayed in compelling, informative visualisations showing movements, behaviours and energy expenditures.

The Impact

  • The tag represents a leap forward for researchers who can now quantify animal movements in unprecedented detail, and who hope to predict what they will do next.
  • The animal trackers not only detail where animals go, but what they do there, and how they react to change, a pivotal aspect of understanding the effects of  climate change.
  • The information is being used to predict the fortunes of species across the globe, which could prove vital in helping to formulate conservation plans.
  • Professor Wilson was the chief scientific consultant for National Geographic, on a series involving animal migrations. The series, Great Migrations, reached over 330 million people in 166 countries and in 34 languages.  The series was an examination of the epic, global movements, and often life and death struggles, made every year by the largest and smallest creatures on earth.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Swansea University Research Themes

REF 14 case study

REF14