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Tag Technology

In order to understand more about the different behaviors of animals at sea, various tags have been developed here at WHOI. These tags have been modified to study specific types of marine animals, which includes sharks, turtles, jellyfish, squid, various fish, whales and more. Over time, the technology has advanced, and we have been able to collect more information that can potentially save these sea creatures. Check out the types of technology below that allow us to obtain deeper insights into marine life behavior!


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  • The ITAG is a data-logging tag made for small, delicate invertebrates such as squid and jellyfish
  • It is able to measure ocean conditions, and records animal behavior over time in high resolution.
  • It consists of two important components:
    1. Sensor package that records animal movement, orientation, dive profiles and environmental data
    2. Base that attaches to the animal. The flexibility of the base allows it to be attached to a wide range of ocean animals.
  • Once the tag releases from the base, it floats to the water’s surface and transmits data via a VHF radio antenna.


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  • The Digital Acoustic Recording Tag (DTAG) was developed to monitor the behavior of marine mammals
  • It is also able to monitor animals' response to sound
  • The DTAG is noninvasive and is attached to the mammal with 4 silicone suction cups
  • There are 3 generations of the DTAG that exist
    • DTAG 1
      • Created in 1999
      • Used to sample the orientation of whales in 3-D.
    • DTAG 2
      • Created in 2003
      • Made improvements from generation 1
      • Add-ons include the ability to record data and and higher quality imaging
    • DTAG 3
      • Created in 2009
      • Smaller housing created so it is even less invasive
      • Greater capacity to record data


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  • The Pop-up Satellite Archival Transmitting tag (PSAT) is mainly used to collect information on sharks and other fish.
  • It is able to measure water temperature, water depth, and light levels of the water to allow us to understand where and why the animals are going
  • The tag is placed below the dorsal fin on a fish or shark
  • After several months, the tag releases itself from the fish or shark and floats to the surface
  • Once the tag reaches the surface, it is able to send data to a satellite so researchers can collect the data recorded


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  • REMUS SharkCam Mini
    • Innovation has been done to miniaturize the transponder tag that is placed on the shark
    • This was done in order to work with smaller sharks such as tiger sharks and great hammerheads
    • This was  successfully done in the Bahamas in 2018 and was featured in Shark Week on the Discovery Channel


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  • TurtleCam was created in order to learn more about endangered leatherback sea turtles
  • A transponder tag is secured to the sea turtle’s shell with suction cups
  • The transponder tag interacts with a REMUS-100 AUV which is placed into the water
  • The REMUS-100 follows the turtle and records movements on video
  • It also measures the salinity, temperature, depth and speed in the surrounding water