The solar-powered Wave Glider includes an acoustic receiver that tracks the location of sharks. Information from the tags is transmitted along a network of buoys in areas where sharks are known to congregate and connects to an iPhone/iPad app so users also can follow the sharks, as well as view interactive maps and information about them. (Source: Stanford University)
In my limited watching of Animal Planet, it seems like they say that most sharks need to keep moving to get water across their gills to stay alive. That being the case, if you hit a great white with a tranquilizer gun, will it die? And if you don't hit it with a tranquilizer gun, will it eat you when you try to put a tracking tag on it? If so, it's not worth the effort.
My guess is that sharks like most things have sex so there is probably a limitless supply of new sharks. Sounds like long term employment for someone. On the other hand if your job is tagging them it's probably like explosive ordnance disposal jobs - there is always openings for new employees.
I found a link here that details types of tags and their attachment methods. For acoustic sensors as mentioned in the article, the tag is placed in a smaller bait fish that sharks like and and will readily eat. Alternativly, they are tagged with a handheld harpoon as detailed in this NOAA guideline for the Northeastern Fishery.
Boy; I made a similar lampooning comment about the unwarranted cries from Privacy Advocates after a recent article and got called a pacifist! Glad you're getting some peer-to-peer validation. I'm with you.
I agree. A tracking dangerous sharks and ocean data collection is a good robotics application because no harm can come to humans. I like the use of solar power to keep the robot functioning while searching for sharks in the ocean. For more information on the wave glide robot, here's a link:
In the spirit of being "rationally irrational" it makes sense to develop an application that tracks a fearsome predator of the oceans. (After all, your average human is much more likely to be killed by a bee than a shark). Presumably this same approach could be used to track more benign species, such as certain whales for whom humans would be considered a fearsome ocean predator. That being said, this is a pretty neat application of technology deployed in a demanding environment. It's no trivial feat to get this to work reliably. Looking forward to future developments from this group.
I agree with you and Scott. I hope shark tracking apps will be opened to the Android and Windows 7 smartphone markets so more folks can view the progress of the project in somewhat realtime. I can see this tool being used in biology classes for both K-12 and college levels bringing the discovery of oceanography to the classrooms in an open source, interactive teaching environment.