Optimizing marine spatial plans with animal tracking data.

Marine user–environment conflicts can have consequences for ecosystems that negatively affect humans. Strategies and tools are required to identify, predict, and mitigate the conflicts that arise between marine anthropogenic activities and wildlife. Estimating individual-, population-, and species-scale distributions of marine animals has historically been challenging, but electronic tagging and tracking technologies (i.e., biotelemetry and biologging) and analytical tools are emerging that can assist marine spatial planning (MSP) efforts by documenting animal interactions with marine infrastructure (e.g., tidal turbines, oil rigs), identifying critical habitat for animals (e.g., migratory corridors, foraging hotspots, reproductive or nursery zones), or delineating distributions for fisheries exploitation. MSP that excludes consideration of animals is suboptimal, and animal space-use estimates can contribute to efficient and responsible exploitation of marine resources that harmonize economic and ecological objectives of MSP. This review considers the application of animal tracking to MSP objectives, presents case studies of successful integration, and provides a look forward to the ways in which MSP will benefit from further integration of animal tracking data.