Memoirs of the National Institute of Polar Research

Memoirs of the NIPR 58: 01-14 (2004)
Bio-logging science: sensing beyond the boundaries
IL Boyd, A Kato, Y Ropert-Coudert
Bio-logging has emerged as a tool in animal biology much as genomics has emerged as a tool in the study of cellular and organ function. Bio-logging is certain to increase in its importance and to influence the way we study events and processes that are beyond the usual boundaries of perception and that are remote from the observer. It is providing insights into the behaviour and function of organisms in environments that are hostile to the observer and in natural situations. In terms of the way that data are collected it has much in common with remote sensing and Earth observation. This includes post hoc analysis and interpretation of extensive data sets involving a low diversity of measured variables. Owing to the sparseness of data sets, practitioners need to develop better methods of applying the data to models of the organisms being studied. Although increasing technological sophistication is leading to collection of a greater diversity of variables, this also brings complications of interpreting multi-dimension data sets. Although it appears that technology currently constrains the type of biological questions that can be addressed, there is a danger that technological advancement could result in a loss of focus on hypothesis testing. There is evidence that the discipline of bio-logging is developing a substructure within which specialist teams of modellers, theoretical and field biologists, and engineers collaborate to address complex biological questions.

Memoirs of the National Institute of Polar Research