New Tag Revolutionizes Whale Research, And Makes Them Partners In Science

2016-12-29T11:37:42+00:00 December 29, 2016|
"Advanced Dive Behavior" (ABD) tags will improve the monitoring of whale behavior over long distances and great depths. (Credit: Flip Nicklen, Minden/Corbis)

(Click to enlarge) “Advanced Dive Behavior” (ABD) tags will improve the monitoring of whale behavior over long distances and great depths. (Credit: Flip Nicklen, Minden/Corbis)

A sophisticated new type of “tag” on whales that can record data every second for hours, days and weeks at a time provides a view of whale behavior, biology and travels never before possible, scientists from Oregon State University reported in a new study.

(From ScienceDaily)– This “Advanced Dive Behavior,” or ADB tag, has allowed researchers to expand their knowledge of whale ecology to areas deep beneath the sea, over thousands of miles of travel, and outline their interaction with the prey they depend upon for food.

It has even turned whales into scientific colleagues to help understand ocean conditions and climate change.

The findings, just published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, showed sperm whales diving all the way to the sea floor, more than 1000 meters deep, and being submerged for up to 75 minutes. It reported baleen whales lunging after their food; provided a basis to better understand whale reactions to undersea noises such as sonar or seismic exploration; and is helping scientists observe how whales react to changes in water temperature.

“The ADB tag is a pretty revolutionary breakthrough,” said Bruce Mate, professor and director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “This provides us a broad picture of whale behavior and ecology that we’ve never had before.

“This technology has even made whales our partners in acquiring data to better understand ocean conditions and climate change,” Mate said. “It gives us vast amounts of new data about water temperatures through space and time, over large distances and in remote locations. We’re learning more about whales, and the whales are helping us to learn more about our own planet.”

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161223115823.htm