Biotelemetric Methods (PhD)

The course includes lectures, demonstrations, computer labs and practical exercises that introduce students to a selection of the most relevant techniques for biotelemetry and biologging field studies.

This includes VHF-telemetry, satellite-based tracking with GPS and “phone-tag” technologies, transponders, acoustic sensing systems and selected physiological and behavioural sampling telemetric methods. Relevant technologies and analytical tools for environmental remote sensing will also be introduced. The course will include practical exercises and data processing methods. Laws and regulations pertaining to animal welfare and radio transmissions associated with the use of telemetric equipment and instrumentation of wild animals will be dealt with in lecture and discussion sessions.


Students will have the opportunity to join field work in on-going research programmes – the specifics of which will depend on the availability of such research projects within the time frame of the course. The students will present research seminars and oral reports from course activities and literature critiques. The PhD students will also draft research proposals.


Topics include:

1) Basic principles for radio signal transmission & antenna theory
2) Telemetric technology, regulations and management of frequencies
3) Ethics (animal welfare) in biotelemetry/biologging
4) Introduction to VHF-based telemetry andGPS-positioning systems in biotelemetry- transmitters applications and limitations
5) Telemetry & biologging equipment - a manufacturers perspective
6) User “issues” – another manufacturer’s perspective – trouble shooting
7) Maps, mapping and GPS technology - Practical applications
8) Acoustic telemetry - Methods & Science questions
9) Range size, habitat use etc. (Storage, and retrieval of data and the integration of animal tracks and terrestrial environmental data)
10) An introduction to GIS tools
11) Design considerations/limitations in marine mammal biotelemetry
12) Biotelemetry and biologging with Svalbard’s marine mammals – case studies
13) Linking marine mammal telemetry & the environment - MAMVIS & statistical tools
14) Remote methods in sea bird research – transponders, photographic & case studies
15) Fish tracking
16) Physiological telemetry - applications and potential
17) Looking into the future....

Course details

Academic level(s)PhD
Language of instruction
InstitutionUniversity Centre in Svalbard
Begin date-
End date-
Registration deadline15.10.2014
ECTS credits10.0
Field schoolNo
Fields of studyBiology and biochemistryLife science (broad programmes)
Teaching placeSvalbard
Tagsgpsvhf-telemetryphone-tagacoustic sensingacoustic telemetry
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