Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 4, pp 1041–1050 | Cite as

Transmitter attachment and release methods for short-term shark and stingray tracking on coral reefs

  • Conrad W. SpeedEmail author
  • Owen R. O’Shea
  • Mark G. Meekan


This study details a simple and cost-effective means of attaching acoustic transmitters to coral reef sharks and stingrays, which potentially allows for retrieval and reuse on completion of tracks. Between 2008 and 2011, galvanised timed releases were trialled in both static field tests and on blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus, cowtail Pastinachus atrus, and porcupine Urogymnus asperrimus rays in Coral Bay (−23°08′41″, 113°45′53″), Western Australia. The timed releases remained attached to animals for the duration required for tracking and in four out of five deployments transmitters were recovered after release from the animals. The use of modified Rototags for sharks and stainless steel darts for stingrays allowed rapid and effective attachment to animals, with limited impact on their welfare in the short term. External attachment for short-term tracking of coral reef-associated elasmobranchs should be considered as a complementary option to internal placement of transmitters in animals either by surgery or by ingestion.


Coral Reef Hydrophone Acoustic Transmitter Acoustic Telemetry Whale Shark 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funded by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Murdoch University. The VR100 and hydrophone were provided through the Australian Animal Tracking and Monitoring System (AATAMS), a facility of Integrated Marine Observing System. Field work was done in compliance with research permits supplied by the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Western Australian Department of Fisheries (SF7536 and SF007122; CE002881 and CE002624; and 1719-2010-39 and RS457/98-05). Animal ethics for stingray handling was approved by Murdoch University Animal Ethics Committee (R2275/09). We thank F. McGregor, J. Ruppert, D. Simpson, Y. Berger, G. Vianna, D. Ilich, T. Hill, M. van Keulen and M. Langdon for assistance with field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Conrad W. Speed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Owen R. O’Shea
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark G. Meekan
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine Science, UWA Oceans Institute (M096)CrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological Sciences and BiotechnologyMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia

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