Scientists at the
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts
have developed a silicon-based “D Tag” identification tag can help
track the location of a whale and also help researchers document its
swimming and behavioral patterns.
The D Tag is about the size of
a PC mouse and is attached to a whale with suction cups until the
device is released as planned – a time period of about one day. The D
Tag uses internal flash memory with 12GB capacity to gather
Once the D Tag is released it floats to the surface and
emits a signal that allows researchers to locate and retrieve it.
The recorded data is then extracted using a wireless infrared link and
analyzed using MATLAB® technology.
The D Tag device records sound, measures water depth and senses and
records the whale’s feeding and swimming movements. This will help
researchers research and understand whale behavior in deep water where
human observation has not been previously possible.
It will also help
protect whales from being snagged by fishing nets by tracking their
proximity to fishing grounds and their migration habits. To date Woods
Hole researchers have been able to tag approximately eight whales for