Sea-Surfing Robot Tracks Marine Life
An unmanned, solar-powered Wave Glider robot has been deployed off the U.S. coast near San Francisco as part of an arsenal of ocean-observing technologies revealing in real time the mysterious journeys of great white sharks and other marine creatures. A new network that also includes data receivers on fixed buoys picks up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmits information to a research team on shore, led by Stanford University Marine Sciences Professor Barbara Block.
The technology is central to Block’s Blue Serengeti Initiative, which builds on the Tagging of Pacific Predators project, part of the international Census of Marine Life (2000-2010). “The use of revolutionary technology increases our capacity to observe our oceans and census populations, improve fisheries management models and monitor animal responses to climate change,” says Block.
Shark Net is a free IOS app available at the Apple store, created by Block and her colleagues to enable a direct, personal connection between the public and wild marine animals, and to raise awareness of the teeming ocean life just off North America’s West Coast.