Tagging (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 17:05:28 EDT

From: "Phillip J. Clapham" <pclapham@whsun1.wh.whoi.edu>
To: Austin Gallagher <thayerman@mediaone.net>, phillip.clapham@noaa.gov,
    pita@whale.wheelock.edu, kburnett@whale.wheelock.edu
Cc: mermaid860@excite.com
Subject: Tagging

Tagging whales isn't easy because unlike bears or wolves they don't have
necks. Tags are attached in one of three ways: suction cup (this doesn't
stay on for long, generally a few hours), with a tag that sits on top of
the skin and is anchored with little blades that go into the blubber, or
with a tag that goes all the way into the blubber with just the antenna
(aerial) outside. This is rather like what barnacles do when they attach
and root down through the whale's blubber.
Tags on humpback and blue whales have stayed on in some cases for months
and have transmitted positions to a satellite. In some cases entire
migrations have been recorded (e.g. Hawaii to Alaska); this work has been
done by Dr Bruce Mate of Oregon State University. It's a very useful
technique if you can get the tag to stay on!

Phil Clapham

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