The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have devastating impact around the world. In this time of human tragedy and hardship, there are indications that some animal populations respond to reduced levels of human activity, as many countries go into lockdown to control the spread of the virus. Bio-logging offers an opportunity to measure how COVID-19-related changes in human behaviour affect wildlife.
Members of the International Bio-Logging Society have decided to launch a collaborative global project to document this phenomenon, with researchers pooling their data and expertise. If you are potentially interested in participating in this project, please fill in our brief online questionnaire -- this should only take 10 minutes of your time.
Please note that, at this early planning stage, we wish to take stock of what data are available: there are no restrictions with regards to locality, taxa studied (marine/terrestrial, birds/mammals, etc.), bio-logging approaches used (movement, activity, physiology, etc.), sample size, and likelihood of local COVID-19 effects.
We are aware that there are other related initiatives underway and are keen to coordinate efforts. In fact, we have already agreed to collaborate with colleagues from the Max Planck–Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement and Global Change, and the Movebank repository for animal tracking data. We are also coordinating with the team that led a recent study on terrestrial mammal movement using GPS data (Tucker et al. 2018, Science 359, 466–469), and with the PAN-Environment working group (which plans to collate a broad range of data). If you are involved in a project with similar objectives, you can use the final comment field in the online questionnaire to let us know.
We believe that the international bio-logging community can make a valuable contribution during these extraordinary times, and we hope that many of you will decide to join this global effort.
Thank you very much for your interest and support,
Fran Cagnacci, Matthias Loretto, and Christian Rutz
With support from members of the leadership team of the International Bio-Logging Society, including: Karen Evans, Gaelle Fehlmann, Mark Hindell, Akiko Kato, Mary-Anne Lea, Bernie McConnell, Yan Ropert-Coudert, David Sims, Sheanna Steingass, Alison Stimpert, and Martin Wikelski.
DISCLAIMER: The information you provide in this questionnaire will be used to plan a collaborative global research project on how COVID-19-related changes in human activity affect wildlife. Filling in the form does not commit you to participate in the project, nor does it guarantee your involvement – when we launch the project, we will get in touch with everybody who expressed interest, to discuss next steps. Please note that, by filling in the form, you consent to us storing your personal information and replies electronically for the above purposes. We will not share your personal information with third parties, and you can ask us to delete your personal information and replies at any time, without providing an explanation.