How it works:

Radio is an excellent type of signal to use when tracking animals, in part because radio waves can transmit information rapidly and through long distances in air. Radio signals can also be made to transmit effectively in fresh water, but not through salt water.

In order to track an animal using radio technology you need to equip the animal with a transmitter that can send you a signal. This signal will require that you have a receiver that will detect the radio signal sent by the transmitter. Both the transmitter and the receiver use antennas to aid in sending and receiving the animal radio signal.

To track more than one animal simultaneously, each animal needs to send out a unique signal that you can identify. In conventional biotelemetry, radio signals are made unique by either varying the transmitter frequency or by varying the transmitter “beeping” rates. However both strategies have their limitations. One of Lotek’s great biotelemetry innovations has been the introduction of the digitally encoded radio tag. This tag transmits a unique numerical code that differentiates it from all other tags, even those transmitting on the exact same frequency. This technology allows a researcher to track hundreds of subjects on any one frequency greatly improving their ability to increase the sample sizes of their studies.

Another significant advance in radio tracking technology has been the miniaturization of Lotek radio tags. We now offer digitally encoded radio tags that are tiny and light enough to be used on fish as small as 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) long. This represents a significant improvement over the radio tags used in the early days of biotelemetry, which required that the transmitters were almost 10 centimeters themselves.

When it’s used:

Radio biotelemetry can be used in water, on land or in the sky to track a huge range of different animals. Lotek has radio tags and collars that can be used on fish, birds, insects, mammals and amphibians of almost any size, from tiny salmon smolts to full-grown elephants.


Lotek Radio Products