Humans have explored less than 2% of the ocean floor, and dozens of new species of deep sea creatures are discovered with every dive. For a planet on which water makes up about 70% of the surface, we know shockingly little about what is going on in the depths of our oceans!
Luckily our wonderful scientists are trying to address this problem and have come along in leaps and bounds in finding new technologies to help our understanding of the ocean, and to help us to better protect its wildlife.
New Sea Tagging technology hopes to change scientists’ abilities to track and record underwater activity. The concept has in fact been around for some time, working with the principle of satellite tracking, and is especially well known in tracking larger underwater animals such as Sea Turtles. However, latest developments in animal tagging and tracking technology using polyurethane materials has allowed for tags that can dive deeper, survive longer, and withstand more environmental abuse than any previous models.
With the use of 3D printed polyurethane prototypes, tags can conform more precisely to each individual animal, be it by slimness, lightness, or shape. Moving away from the traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach, customised Sea Tags allow tracking to become more reliable for researchers and less cumbersome for the animal in question.
So what exactly can a Sea Tag tell us about underwater activity? They are used by researchers to learn details about how creatures of the sea interact with protected and highly fished areas of the ocean, an essential question when we are considering how we can make fishing in the EU more sustainable! From estimating animal locations around the world to presenting details of water temperature and depth of the animal, the information gathered from this advanced technology can be used positively to better protect the ocean’s ecosystem. In the future, the technology may even evolve to be able to track incredible details such as oxygen levels in the water, water salinity, and even oil dispersants!