Introduction to the theme issue: Measuring physiology in free-living animals.
Published on Aug 2, 2021in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B5.68
· DOI :10.1098/RSTB.2020.0210
By describing where animals go, biologging technologies (i.e. animal attached logging of biological variables with small electronic devices) have been used to document the remarkable athletic feats of wild animals since the 1940s. The rapid development and miniaturization of physiologging (i.e. logging of physiological variables such as heart rate, blood oxygen content, lactate, breathing frequency and tidal volume on devices attached to animals) technologies in recent times (e.g. devices that weigh less than 2 g mass that can measure electrical biopotentials for days to weeks) has provided astonishing insights into the physiology of free-living animals to document how and why wild animals undertake these extreme feats. Now, physiologging, which was traditionally hindered by technological limitations, device size, ethics and logistics, is poised to benefit enormously from the on-going developments in biomedical and sports wearables technologies. Such technologies are already improving animal welfare and yield in agriculture and aquaculture, but may also reveal future pathways for therapeutic interventions in human health by shedding light on the physiological mechanisms with which free-living animals undertake some of the most extreme and impressive performances on earth. This article is part of the theme issue 'Measuring physiology in free-living animals (Part I)'.