The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies

A. M. M. Sequeira, M. R. Heupel, M-A Lea, V. M. Eguiluz, C. M. Duarte, M. G. Meekan, M. Thums, H. J. Calich, R. H. Carmichael, D. P. Costa, L. C. Ferreira, J. Fernandez-Gracia, R. Harcourt, A-L Harrison, I. Jonsen, C. R. McMahon, D. W. Sims, R. P. Wilson, G. C. Hays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Telemetry is a key, widely used tool to understand marine megafauna distribution, habitat use, behavior, and physiology; however, a critical question remains: "How many animals should be tracked to acquire meaningful data sets?" This question has wide-ranging implications including considerations of statistical power, animal ethics, logistics, and cost. While power analyses can inform sample sizes needed for statistical significance, they require some initial data inputs that are often unavailable. To inform the planning of telemetry and biologging studies of marine megafauna where few or no data are available or where resources are limited, we reviewed the types of information that have been obtained in previously published studies using different sample sizes. We considered sample sizes from one to >100 individuals and synthesized empirical findings, detailing the information that can be gathered with increasing sample sizes. We complement this review with simulations, using real data, to show the impact of sample size when trying to address various research questions in movement ecology of marine megafauna. We also highlight the value of collaborative, synthetic studies to enhance sample sizes and broaden the range, scale, and scope of questions that can be answered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number01947
Number of pages17
JournalEcological Applications
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2019

Cite this

Sequeira, A. M. M., Heupel, M. R., Lea, M-A., Eguiluz, V. M., Duarte, C. M., Meekan, M. G., ... Hays, G. C. (2019). The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies. Ecological Applications, [01947]. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1947
Sequeira, A. M. M. ; Heupel, M. R. ; Lea, M-A ; Eguiluz, V. M. ; Duarte, C. M. ; Meekan, M. G. ; Thums, M. ; Calich, H. J. ; Carmichael, R. H. ; Costa, D. P. ; Ferreira, L. C. ; Fernandez-Gracia, J. ; Harcourt, R. ; Harrison, A-L ; Jonsen, I. ; McMahon, C. R. ; Sims, D. W. ; Wilson, R. P. ; Hays, G. C. / The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies. In: Ecological Applications. 2019.
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Sequeira, AMM, Heupel, MR, Lea, M-A, Eguiluz, VM, Duarte, CM, Meekan, MG, Thums, M, Calich, HJ, Carmichael, RH, Costa, DP, Ferreira, LC, Fernandez-Gracia, J, Harcourt, R, Harrison, A-L, Jonsen, I, McMahon, CR, Sims, DW, Wilson, RP & Hays, GC 2019, 'The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies' Ecological Applications. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1947

The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies. / Sequeira, A. M. M.; Heupel, M. R.; Lea, M-A; Eguiluz, V. M.; Duarte, C. M.; Meekan, M. G.; Thums, M.; Calich, H. J.; Carmichael, R. H.; Costa, D. P.; Ferreira, L. C.; Fernandez-Gracia, J.; Harcourt, R.; Harrison, A-L; Jonsen, I.; McMahon, C. R.; Sims, D. W.; Wilson, R. P.; Hays, G. C.

In: Ecological Applications, 16.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - The importance of sample size in marine megafauna tagging studies

AU - Sequeira, A. M. M.

AU - Heupel, M. R.

AU - Lea, M-A

AU - Eguiluz, V. M.

AU - Duarte, C. M.

AU - Meekan, M. G.

AU - Thums, M.

AU - Calich, H. J.

AU - Carmichael, R. H.

AU - Costa, D. P.

AU - Ferreira, L. C.

AU - Fernandez-Gracia, J.

AU - Harcourt, R.

AU - Harrison, A-L

AU - Jonsen, I.

AU - McMahon, C. R.

AU - Sims, D. W.

AU - Wilson, R. P.

AU - Hays, G. C.

PY - 2019/7/16

Y1 - 2019/7/16

N2 - Telemetry is a key, widely used tool to understand marine megafauna distribution, habitat use, behavior, and physiology; however, a critical question remains: "How many animals should be tracked to acquire meaningful data sets?" This question has wide-ranging implications including considerations of statistical power, animal ethics, logistics, and cost. While power analyses can inform sample sizes needed for statistical significance, they require some initial data inputs that are often unavailable. To inform the planning of telemetry and biologging studies of marine megafauna where few or no data are available or where resources are limited, we reviewed the types of information that have been obtained in previously published studies using different sample sizes. We considered sample sizes from one to >100 individuals and synthesized empirical findings, detailing the information that can be gathered with increasing sample sizes. We complement this review with simulations, using real data, to show the impact of sample size when trying to address various research questions in movement ecology of marine megafauna. We also highlight the value of collaborative, synthetic studies to enhance sample sizes and broaden the range, scale, and scope of questions that can be answered.

AB - Telemetry is a key, widely used tool to understand marine megafauna distribution, habitat use, behavior, and physiology; however, a critical question remains: "How many animals should be tracked to acquire meaningful data sets?" This question has wide-ranging implications including considerations of statistical power, animal ethics, logistics, and cost. While power analyses can inform sample sizes needed for statistical significance, they require some initial data inputs that are often unavailable. To inform the planning of telemetry and biologging studies of marine megafauna where few or no data are available or where resources are limited, we reviewed the types of information that have been obtained in previously published studies using different sample sizes. We considered sample sizes from one to >100 individuals and synthesized empirical findings, detailing the information that can be gathered with increasing sample sizes. We complement this review with simulations, using real data, to show the impact of sample size when trying to address various research questions in movement ecology of marine megafauna. We also highlight the value of collaborative, synthetic studies to enhance sample sizes and broaden the range, scale, and scope of questions that can be answered.

KW - animal welfare

KW - key questions

KW - movement behavior

KW - number of tags

KW - telemetry studies

KW - tracking data

KW - DIEL VERTICAL MIGRATION

KW - SATELLITE TRACKING

KW - SEASONAL MOVEMENTS

KW - FORAGING BEHAVIOR

KW - BASKING SHARKS

KW - 1ST RECORDS

KW - SEA

KW - PREDATOR

KW - STRATEGIES

KW - PATTERNS

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DO - 10.1002/eap.1947

M3 - Article

JO - Ecological Applications

JF - Ecological Applications

SN - 1051-0761

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