The generalized data management and collection protocol for Conductivity-Temperature-Depth Satellite Relay Data Loggers

Abstract The software routines for data sampling and processing that are implemented on-board telemetry devices (tags) called Conductivity-Temperature-Depth Satellite Relay Data Loggers (CTD-SRDLs) enable the simultaneous collection of biological and in-situ environmental data by animal-platforms over periods of weeks to months, despite severe energy and bandwidth limitations imposed by their relatively small size. This extended operational lifetime is made possible by the use of software protocols on-board the tags that manage sensors, data collection, storage, compression and transmission to ensure that the most useful data are sent at appropriate resolution while minimizing redundancy. While tag software is tailored to the particular species under study and the questions being addressed with a given field deployment, the philosophy behind Sea Mammal Research Unit Instrumentation Group (SMRU-IG) software protocols is to adopt a general set of principles to achieve the best results within the energy and bandwidth constraints. Here, we discuss these and review the general protocol that is used to simultaneously collect information on geographical movements, diving behaviour and in-situ oceanographic information from marine mammals.