The conference marks the first meeting of all stakeholders in the global enterprise ?including scientists who tag animals, scientists and government officials who will collect, interpret and use the data, and technology experts who have made it possible to follow the migration of these animals, often in near real-time.
The meeting will help determine priority species for tracking ?from salmon to whales and from polar bears to penguins ?and priority areas for ocean floor acoustic monitoring arrays.
"These are key questions: which species do we want to track and exactly where do we wire up the world to create an effective global system of watching the oceans in motion," says Dr. O'Dor.
Continental shelves average about 80 km (50 mi) wide, and the edge of the shelf occurs at an average depth of about 200 m (660 ft), where it falls steeply into the deep sea. Salmon and many other marine animals travel extensively along shelves.
A pilot array has been successfully demonstrated by the British Columbia-based Project POST (Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking), part of the international Census of Marine Life. The current array stretches more than 1,750 km, from Oregon through British Columbia to north of the Alaskan panhandle.
POST has revealed the Pacific migration routes of young wild salmon from US and Canadian rivers. Knowing their usual travels along marine highways has far-reaching implications for authorities that need to determine when fisheries should be open or closed to conserve endangered stocks. Other scientists from around the world attending the conference have placed related technology on a variety of other fish species, including sturgeon, halibut, sharks and tunas.
Among other benefits, the array technology will provide insights into how animal behaviours change sh