A special tracker turns whales into assistants of scientists

In the study of sea depths, underwater drones and robotic vessels are increasingly used more actively. However, it is worthwhile to admit that their capabilities are very limited in comparison with some marine animals. Employees of the University of Oregon had an idea to use a whale in their research, attaching a special tracker to it.

Devices for monitoring the movements of marine animals existed earlier, but their validity was limited by several hours. A new tracker called Abu (Advanced Dive Behavior) can function within seven weeks, continuously transmitting information to scientists. After the completion of his work, he is disconnected from the whale and pops up to the surface.

He reports about the place of surfacing using LED lamps and GPS signal. ABU fixes the depth of the sampling of the whale, its movement, body position, light level and water temperature. The information received is collected and carefully analyzed by scientists.

The tracker is able to control the behavior of a whale diving to a depth of up to 1000 meters and located there up to 75 minutes. He can identify certain patterns in swimming, nutrition, ambient temperature, as well as what happens to whales when vessels appear nearby.

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