Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Fine-scale movement, activity patterns and home-ranges of European lobster Homarus gammarus

Lookup NU author(s): Daniel Skerritt, Dr Pete Robertson, Professor Aileen Mill, Professor Nick Polunin, Professor Clare Fitzsimmons



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Understanding an animal’s movement, distribution and activity pattern is vital for effective delivery of evidence-based management, however, such data are sparse for many economically important fishery targets, particularly the European lobster Homarus gammarus. This study aimed to elucidate high-resolution movement and activity-patterns of a large cohort (n = 44; CL = 65 to 98mm) of adult European lobsters, using a passive fine-scale acoustic telemetry VEMCO Positioning System (VPS) off Northumberland (UK). This is the first application of VPS on this species and the first offshore VPS study within the UK, providing novel positional data generated via triangulation based on time difference of arrival of acoustic signals. Individual home-ranges using kernel density and minimum convex polygons showed seasonal variation: 95% utilisation distribution ranged from 244 to 7,722m2 during spring (EMBED Equation.DSMT410 = 11,104 ± 397m2s.e.), and declined to 237 to 784m2 during autumn (EMBED Equation.DSMT410 = 455 ± 66m2s.e.). The study also provides evidence of behavioural differences between sexes, with males using more space than females. Daily cumulative step-length and daily minimum convex polygons highlighted that while space-use decreased during the autumn, daily distance moved increased for the majority of lobsters observed, coupled with longer durations of deil activity during autumn. These results suggest that using home-range analyses alone to describe an animal’s movement may inadequately represent the full behaviour of the animal. This study demonstrates the potential for passive acoustic telemetry tracking of otherwise cryptic and difficult to study marine benthic animals.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Skerritt DJ, Robertson PA, Mill AC, Polunin NVC, Fitzsimmons C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Ecology Progress Series

Year: 2015

Volume: 536

Pages: 203-219

Online publication date: 29/09/2015

Acceptance date: 19/06/2015

Date deposited: 19/10/2015

ISSN (print): 0171-8630

ISSN (electronic): 1616-1599

Publisher: Inter-Research


DOI: 10.3354/meps11374


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Fish and Fisheries Committee within the Fishmongers' Company
Newcastle University
Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA)
FES-289Marine Management Organisation's Fisheries Challenge Fund