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Toward a decade of ocean science for sustainable development through acoustic animal tracking

Alós, Josep; Aarestrup, Kim; Abecasis, David; Afonso, Pedro; Alonso?Fernandez, Alexandre; Aspillaga, Eneko; Barcelo?Serra, Margarida; Bolland, Jonathan; Cabanellas-Reboredo, Miguel; Lennox, Robert; McGill, Ross; Özgül, Aytaç; Reubens, Jan; Villegas-Ríos, David


Josep Alós

Kim Aarestrup

David Abecasis

Pedro Afonso

Alexandre Alonso?Fernandez

Eneko Aspillaga

Margarida Barcelo?Serra

Miguel Cabanellas-Reboredo

Robert Lennox

Ross McGill

Aytaç Özgül

Jan Reubens

David Villegas-Ríos


The ocean is a key component of the Earth's dynamics, providing a great variety of ecosystem services to humans. Yet, human activities are globally changing its structure and major components, including marine biodiversity. In this context, the United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to tackle the scientific challenges necessary for a sustainable use of the ocean by means of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14). Here, we review how Acoustic animal Tracking, a widely distributed methodology of tracking marine biodiversity with electronic devices, can provide a roadmap for implementing the major Actions to achieve the SDG14. We show that acoustic tracking can be used to reduce and monitor the effects of marine pollution including noise, light, and plastic pollution. Acoustic tracking can be effectively used to monitor the responses of marine biodiversity to human-made infrastructures and habitat restoration, as well as to determine the effects of hypoxia, ocean warming, and acidification. Acoustic tracking has been historically used to inform fisheries management, the design of marine protected areas, and the detection of essential habitats, rendering this technique particularly attractive to achieve the sustainable fishing and spatial protection target goals of the SDG14. Finally, acoustic tracking can contribute to end illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by providing tools to monitor marine biodiversity against poachers and promote the development of Small Islands Developing States and developing countries. To fully benefit from acoustic tracking supporting the SDG14 Targets, trans-boundary collaborative efforts through tracking networks are required to promote ocean information sharing and ocean literacy. We therefore propose acoustic tracking and tracking networks as relevant contributors to tackle the scientific challenges that are necessary for a sustainable use of the ocean promoted by the United Nations.


Alós, J., Aarestrup, K., Abecasis, D., Afonso, P., Alonso‐Fernandez, A., Aspillaga, E., …Villegas-Ríos, D. (in press). Toward a decade of ocean science for sustainable development through acoustic animal tracking. Global change biology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 29, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 5, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 8, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Global Change Biology
Print ISSN 1354-1013
Electronic ISSN 1365-2486
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Acoustic tracking; Climate change; Fisheries; Marine pollution; Movement; Networks; Ocean monitoring; Sustainable development; Telemetry
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Copyright Statement
© 2022 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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