News & AnalysisAnimal Ecology

Global Tracking of Small Animals Gains Momentum

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Science  25 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6059, pp. 1042
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6059.1042

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An ecologist has developed a new space-based system to track animals too small to be monitored globally with current instruments. Next month, he and his colleagues will begin testing whether a new animal tag can eventually communicate with the International Space Station. He has also been promised $2.3 million to start to set up an antenna on the space station for ICARUS, as the project is called. If all goes well, he says, by the end of 2014, the antenna will be tracking about 1000 small animals, with the potential to follow thousands more, enabling him and collaborators to assess how the creatures spend their lives and where they die.