The ecology of animal movement is one field that would benefit from sound evaluation of the risks, benefits and ethics of its important research findings (Nature 484, 415 and Nature 484, 432–434; 2012).

Scientists can now track the complex horizontal and vertical movements of a wide range of marine species, including tuna, sharks and turtles. These results reveal biodiversity hotspots and inform conservation policies by providing insight into animal behaviour and ecology. However, they also guide fishing operations towards resource-rich locations — putting further strain on both target and by-catch species.

Too many species face severe stock depletion because of intense fishing, pollution and other anthropogenic pressures. The detrimental implications of marine ecological research results must be acknowledged.