Australian Animal Tracking and Monitoring System (AATAMS)

Phil McDowall servicing a VR2W acoustic receiver at Scott's Reef.
Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) tagged at Macquarie Island; photo: Chris Oosthuizen.


The Australian Animal Tracking and Monitoring System (AATAMS) is one of eleven facilities of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). AATAMS represents the higher biological monitoring of the marine environment for the IMOS program.

Currently AATAMS uses acoustic technology, CTD satellite trackers and bio-loggers to monitor coastal and oceanic movements of marine animals from the Australian mainland to the sub-Antarctic islands and as far south as the Antarctic continent.

AATAMS is set up to collect data over a long period of time. This sustained approach will enable researchers to assess the effects of climate change, ocean acidification and other physical changes that affect animals within the marine environment.

Currently, a large range of fish, sharks and mammals are collecting a wide range of data. This includes behavioural and physical data such as depth, temperature, salinity and movement effort of individual marine animals.

This data is freely available via the IMOS Ocean Portal and can be overlayed with data from other IMOS facilities.



  • Form a national network and increase collaboration between acoustic telemetry researchers;

  • Invest in over 500 permanent, strategically located receivers to maximise national benefit and form a continental array with existing infrastructure;

  • Lead the Southern hemisphere section of an internationally coordinated Marine Animal Tracking program, i.e. the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN);

  • Act as a central data repository from collaborating institutes and researchers around the nation;

  • Assess climate change in the Southern Ocean.