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Mechatronics
Underwater Robot Tracks Sand Tiger Sharks
11/1/2012

An underwater robot based on the Slocum glider is tracking sand tiger sharks to help researchers understand shark migration patterns and behavior as it happens.   (Source: University of Delaware)
An underwater robot based on the Slocum glider is tracking sand tiger sharks to help researchers understand shark migration patterns and behavior as it happens.
(Source: University of Delaware)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Social sharks
Ann R. Thryft   12/4/2012 11:49:41 AM
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Note that the sharks tagged in this article are very small compared to great whites, so tagging them is possible and a lot less dangerous. I think Scott's point is well taken--there's a huge amount that we don't know about the ocean and its ecosystems, and perhaps robotics will help us learn more.

Scott Orlosky
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Re: Social sharks
Scott Orlosky   11/18/2012 6:47:26 PM
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I like the concept. If enough variety of species could be made "trackable", then interspecies interactions as well as environmental responses might give us a wealth of information.  It seems we know more about the inner workings of atoms than we do about ocean ecosystems.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Not quite so exotic
Rob Spiegel   11/6/2012 11:16:41 AM
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Chuck, I think you just identified the problem with tracking sharks in order to ensure beach safety. I would guess that even a strong effort to tag sharks would leave countless sharks untagged.

Charles Murray
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Re: Not quite so exotic
Charles Murray   11/5/2012 7:36:09 PM
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If the Great Whites need to be tagged, I'm afraid I won't be able to volunteer for the job, Rob. I'm busy that day.

mrdon
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Re: Not quite so exotic
mrdon   11/5/2012 3:10:35 PM
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Hi Rob, Thanks for the comment. It may be possible with today's tech but hopefully someone reading this post can shed some light on the answer.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Not quite so exotic
Rob Spiegel   11/5/2012 2:59:38 PM
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Good question about whether it could be used to track jellyfish, MrDon. My guess is that it would be difficult to tag a jellyfish -- their tissue seem too fragile. But it may depend on the nature of the tag.

mrdon
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Re: Not quite so exotic
mrdon   11/5/2012 1:56:13 PM
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Hi Ann, I didn't think about how researchers would tag jellyfish because of their fleshy bodies when discussing the application. Good Question!!! 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Not quite so exotic
Ann R. Thryft   11/5/2012 12:29:16 PM
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mrdon, that's an interesting question about tagging jellyfish. The jellyfish's flesh would have to be solid enough--and they would have to be capturable without harm to them or us--to be tagged in the first place. The researchers in this project designed a special sling to hold sharks while they were tagging them. I'd bet tagging jellyfish is a lot harder. Does anyone know if there's already a tagging system for these slippery critters?

mrdon
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Re: Not quite so exotic
mrdon   11/3/2012 10:56:54 PM
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Hi Rob, I agree. I wonder if this robot can track the Box Jellyfish which has been a plague to Australian Beach goers for years? Also, does the torpedoe shape of the robot seem threatening among onlookers, especially the Coast Guard, while it tracks Sand Tiger Sharks? As always, very nice article Ann!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Not quite so exotic
Rob Spiegel   11/2/2012 2:31:19 PM
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I agree, Elizabeth, there are tons of applications for this type of sea tracking. It would be interesting if there were a widespread effort to tag great whites. That would be the only way to help avoid beach attacks.

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