Ultrasonic telemetry, tracking and automated monitoring technology for sharks

  • Frederick A. Voegeli
  • Malcolm J. Smale
  • Dale M. Webber
  • Yanko Andrade
  • Ronald K. O’Dor
Part of the Developments in environmental biology of fishes book series (DEBF, volume 20)


Sharks were among the first marine animals to carry telemetry systems because of their size and the need to understand their interactions with humans. Modern telemetry systems can gather many kinds of data (limited only by imagination, funding and sensor types), indicating which animals are near telemetry receivers and what they are doing. Receivers now range from simple autonomous detector units for deployment in mid-water in large-scale grids, to sophisticated automated benthic recorders, to triangulating radio-linked buoy systems (RAP), to ship-borne transponders. In addition, archival tags can now gather and store data even while the shark is away, to be downloaded later. Older types had to be recovered, but pop up tags release from sharks automatically, surface and transfer data to satellites, while CHAT tags download whenever queried by a nearby transponding acoustic receiver. Sophisticated animal-borne tags dramatically increase the information gathered about sharks and their environment. The examples provided show the parallel progression of shark biology and acoustic biotelemetry illustrating that telemetry systems are tools for gathering data, which can often be honed to facilitate biological experiments. Future visions include sensors that directly measure shark swimming power and cardiac output, compressing the data so that it can be delivered to RAP systems tracking multiple animals with meter resolution in near real time. CHAT tags as small as 22 mm diameter should be able to return similar data from trips of hundreds of kilometers. Continued communication between biologists and engineers is essential to develop these technologies.

Key words

acoustic positioning remote pinger transponder sensors code archival 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick A. Voegeli
    • 1
  • Malcolm J. Smale
    • 2
  • Dale M. Webber
    • 3
  • Yanko Andrade
    • 3
  • Ronald K. O’Dor
    • 3
  1. 1.VEMCO LimitedShad BayCanada
  2. 2.Port Elizabeth MuseumPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  3. 3.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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