Do Data-Logging Tags Make Ordinary Tasks Harder for Dolphins?

Written by on October 24, 2013 in Marine Life, Technology, Whales & Dolphins

Daily Summary

Cacophony of Shipping Noise Found in Humpback, Killer Whale Habitat
In a new study, researchers analyzed 10,000 hours of underwater noise levels and found that they varied quite a bit based on location. They focused on three killer whales, humpback whales and fin whales and found that reveals that the habitats most important to resident killer whales are the loudest sites in the study. The areas preferred by humpback and fin whales were quieter, but there’s no guarantee that will always be the case. They found that humpback whales and killer whales are losing 94 percent and 97 percent, respectively, of their communication space in some of the busiest areas off the British Columbia coast. The researchers hope to expand the study to include more marine life, including fish.

Coral makes cloud to keep climate sweet: experts
New research reveals that coral produces an important sulphur molecule with properties that helps coral reefs cope with warming oceans. The sulphur molecule, dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), can act as antioxidants that protect coral tissue from environmental stress and can actually cool the local climate by helping to form clouds in the sky above the ocean. This is the first time that an animal (coral) has been identified as a DMSP producer. The bad news is that as coral cover declines, cloud formation will also decline which could accelerate ocean warming.

Researcher placing a suction-cup mounted acoustic recording tag on a humpback whale.

Researcher placing a suction-cup mounted acoustic recording tag on a humpback whale. Photo credit: NOAA.

Dolphins Assist Scientists Studying Effects of Data-logging Tags
Data-logging tags are a critical tool that allow researchers to study marine life that spends most of its time below the surface. Tags can collect all sorts of data, including sounds, speed, depth and sometimes even video footage. Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) are working with dolphins at Dolphin Quest in order to determine what effect the tags have on the animals. Suction cup data tags can be bulky and for animals like dolphins that have a low-drag body shape, the tags could cause them to use more energy for ordinary activities. The data collected at Dolphin Quest will help researchers better analyze data from tags on wild dolphins and could lead to better tags in the future.

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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