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Satellite Tagging Project
Satellite Tagging Project Study Guide
by Michael Williamson
Why use satellite tags?
Satellite tagging is a relatively new method in the study of organisms in their own habitat.
Why use satellite tags to study whales?
If all whaling stopped, all fishing stopped, all commercial ship traffic stopped, and all recreational boating stopped, the whale populations, in all likelihood, would not return to their pre-whaling numbers.
When an organism is removed from the ecosystem in which it lived other organisms assume their niche in the food chain so the first species would not have the food available to replace their numbers.
In reality, all commercial use of the oceans will not stop, so in order to make more knowledgeable decisions on the use of the shared oceans, knowledge of the organisms which use the environment must be better understood.
If we can determine where the whales travel, where they feed, and where they give birth, more informed decisions can be made about how humans use those same areas. If humans have accurate information then more knowledgeable decisions can be made about the use of the shared habitats. Fishing management decisions can be made about where and when to fish to minimized negative interaction. War games can be moved from critical habitats for whales. Commercial uses of the habitats can be managed with respect to the shared habitats.
With the use of satellite tags, humans may gain very important insights into the habitat use, range of movements, and return tenacity, etc. This will give humans more insights into the natural history of the whales and will enable more intelligent and meaningful decisions which will increase the potential for recovery and for an improved existence in the shared marine environments around the world.
Study Guide Questions
The Blue Whale:
See the bibliographies in the Educational Resources menu item.
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