Animals could help humans monitor oceans

Iowa Climate Science Education

oceans

University of Exeter

Sea turtle equipped with an animal-borne sensor. Credit: Miquel Gomila/SOCIBSea turtle equipped with an animal-borne sensor. Credit: Miquel Gomila/SOCIB

Sea turtle equipped with an animal-borne sensor. Credit: Miquel Gomila/SOCIB

Sharks, penguins, turtles and other seagoing species could help humans monitor the oceans by transmitting oceanographic information from electronic tags.

Thousands of marine animals are tagged for a variety of research and conservation purposes, but at present the information gathered isn?t widely used to track climate change and other shifts in the oceans.

Instead, monitoring is mostly done by research vessels, underwater drones and thousands of floating sensors that drift with the currents. However, large areas of the ocean still remain under-sampled ? leaving gaps in our knowledge.

A team led by the University of Exeter says animals carrying sensors can fill many of these gaps through natural behaviour such as diving under ice, swimming in shallow water or moving against currents.

?We want to highlight the massive potential of animal-borne sensors to teach us about…

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