Positioning aquatic animals with acoustic transmitters


1. Geolocating aquatic animals with acoustic tags has been ongoing for decades, relying on the detection of acoustic signals at multiple receivers with known positions to calculate a 2D or 3D position, and ultimately recreate the path of an aquatic animal from detections at fixed stations.
2. This method of underwater geolocation is evolving with new software and hardware options available to help investigators design studies and calculate positions using solvers based predominantly on time‐difference‐of‐arrival and time‐of‐arrival.
3. We provide an overview of the considerations necessary to implement positioning in aquatic acoustic telemetry studies, including how to design arrays of receivers, test performance, synchronize receiver clocks and calculate positions from the detection data. We additionally present some common positioning algorithms, including both the free open‐source solvers and the ‘black‐box’ methods provided by some manufacturers for calculating positions.
4. This paper is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of methods and considerations for designing and implementing better positioning studies that will support users, and encourage further knowledge advances in aquatic systems.

Methods Ecol Evol 14, 2514–2530