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MARINFORSKFISK-Marine ressurser og miljø - fiskeri

Digital Twin of the Ocean: Animal Tracking (DTO-Track)

Alternative title: Digital tvilling av havet: Sporing av dyr (DTO-Track)

Awarded: NOK 2.1 mill.

Marine life is under significant threat due to human activities such as habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change. These issues are leading to declines in fish populations and shifts in their distribution, resulting in lower fish catches and a diminished capacity of the ocean to perform crucial functions like carbon sinking. Protecting the ocean is essential for maintaining biodiversity and supporting human needs. However, increasing demands for food, transportation, and energy are placing considerable strain on marine ecosystems. Effective management and conservation of ocean life require a thorough understanding of animal habitats and movement patterns. Tracking aquatic animals is challenging because traditional geolocation tools, like GPS, are ineffective underwater. Digital twins (DTs) are emerging as valuable tools for continuous monitoring and informed decision-making in conservation. They can assess the state of nature in real-time and help determine the effectiveness of intervention efforts. The DTO-Track project aims to address the challenge of tracking aquatic animal movements by developing a digital twin of the North Sea. This project will utilize advanced tracking technologies and international collaboration to gather and analyze data on animal movements. The goal is to enhance our understanding of marine life and support the sustainable management of ocean resources.

Marine life is under threat. The world’s oceans are experiencing immense pressure from human activities that are contributing to habitat alterations and degradation, pollution, and climate change. The cumulative impacts of anthropogenic activities are substantial, omnipresent, and dynamic. As a consequence of human impacts, many fish populations are declining, and their distribution is shifting. Consequently, fisheries yields are declining, carbon sinking is reducing, and the capacity for the ocean to deliver life preserving services to the planet is eroding. Increasing pressures to provide food, to transport goods, and to produce energy is, however, straining the capacity for the ocean to deliver on all of its charges, and we are in the midst of global crises as key essential ocean variables continue to be neglected. Aquatic animal tracking tools (acoustic, passive and archival telemetry) have emerged as valuable scientific means for marine ecology and oceanography. Innovations driven forward by the European Tracking Network (ETN) are entrenching telemetry as a key tool for tracking aquatic species in Europe and will support the development of a digital twin (tool for contionous monitoring) of the North Sea fauna in this project. DTO-Track will leverage existing telemetry infrastructure in eight European nations along with a dedicated international digital infrastructure found through adjacent EU projects. In this project, eight North Sea member states will collaborate to deploy regional infrastructure (tags and receivers) and leverage existing physical and digital infrastructure to develop a prototype for a digital twin of the North Sea’s fauna. Funding will be leveraged to coordinate animal tagging studies across countries to test hypotheses about animal migration and behaviour, overlap with offshore developments, and to address ‘what if’ scenarios of interest to managers, developers, and conservation organisations, using novel data streams and integrated tools.

Funding scheme:

MARINFORSKFISK-Marine ressurser og miljø - fiskeri