Data Visualization Tool (DaViT)

Choose species and timeframe to see the distribution and range of acoustically tagged animals!


What is acoustic telemetry?

Acoustic telemetry uses sound to transmit information underwater. An animal is tagged with an acoustic transmitter which emits a sounds that is understood and decoded by a receiver which is submerged underwater in a fixed location. The receiver logs the unique ID, date, and time of when the animal was within the listening range of the receiver. Click here to learn more.

How do you tag animals?

Animals are tagged either internally (via a small surgery) or externally with an acoustic tag. The size of the tag and attachment method to the animal depends on the species. Click here to learn more.

How can I use this?

It is up to you! Explore, investigate how ranges change throughout the year. Find out what species overlap where you live. Discover just how far animals migrate.

These data can be used by natural resource managers to determine seasonal habitats that are essential to the growth and development of a species or population. The researchers sharing this information can be contacted by resource managers and this information can then be analyzed to provide a recommendation for fishery harvest limits, restrictions (e.g. size), or seasonal spatial closures that serve to maintain a healthy population of fish/animals.

What does the species range show?

Each species has a geographic range, or geographic limits, on where that species is found. Some animals migrate and have large ranges, while others may stick to an area and have a limited range. The range displayed in the DaViT shows the outermost (the most north, south, east and west) locations where the tagged animals of the species have been detected by our network of receivers.

What does the species distribution show?

The distribution view shows where within the species’ range animals were detected. You may notice sometimes only a few animals are seen in an area whereas other areas are more popular with more individuals. Reasons for differences in animal distribution may vary but may be due to available food, temperature, habitat, or to avoid predators. Check out how distribution changes by month and years using the DaViT!

How is distribution calculated?

Distribution is calculated by first overlaying a grid over the water, each about 11 km by 11 km. Then the number of average daily locations of tagged animals of a species are counted in each grid cell. The more daily locations in a grid cell shows on the map as a more intense color. Voilà! You just learned the basics on how Kernel Density Estimates (or KDEs, a popular estimation method among scientists) is calculated!

How can I find out more information about a species?

Want to learn more about a particular species? Head over to our species page and learn all about the interesting and diverse species our researchers are studying.

Still have more questions? Each species displayed on the DaViT has a citation section, where if you click the magnifying glass icon you can see the contact information for the researchers who are tracking the animals.

How does this tool protect the tagged animals?

To protect the animals and researcher’s equipment, no individual animal tracks or receiver stations are shown or available for download (for more information see ‘Where is the raw data’ below). The locations of the tagged animals are rounded to a tenth of a degree of latitude/longitude (approximately 11 km buffer) and then a daily average position is calculated to create the data layers displayed.

Are these real time data? / How often is the DaViT updated?

We wish these were real time data! Our acoustic receivers have to be retrieved and downloaded by the researchers to get the data. The researchers then upload the data to a central database to produce the maps you see on the DaViT.

Sound like a lot of work? It can be! The DaViT is updated three times a year to incorporate all the exciting new animal movements our researchers discover.

What are the limitations of the DaViT?

  • There must be a receiver – Using acoustic telemetry, we can only detect an animal where there is a receiver. If an animal swims outside the receiver’s range (usually 500 m or less) then it will not be detected and therefore not shown on the DaViT.
  • Where the receivers are – Since researchers have to retrieve the receivers to download the data, receivers are often closer to shore and in habitats where the receiver can be placed. Receivers can be deployed in deeper water and farther offshore, but requires extra equipment and longer boat rides (and usually a bigger boat too!).
  • How many animals are tagged – Did you notice how many animals were tagged for the species you are looking at? Few individuals tagged may not accurately show the distribution and range for the species. The range and distribution may be considerably smaller or larger than what the data show from the few tagged individuals.
  • Time – Does the species you are looking at have multiple years of data or just a few months? The longer an animal is tracked the better the researchers can determine animal behavior and movement patterns. If a species only has a few months of data we may need more data before making conclusions on what the species is doing and where they like to go!

Where is the raw data?

As per the FACT Network User Agreement, the raw data belongs to the tag owner and is not available for download using the DaViT.

To inquire about accessing the raw data for a species, please click on the magnifying glass icon under citations to view the contact information for the researchers tracking these animals.