Special tracker turns whales into scientists' assistants

Underwater drones and robotic vessels are increasingly being used in the study of the depths of the sea. However, it should be admitted that their capabilities are very limited in comparison with some marine animals. The staff of the University of Oregon had the idea to use a whale in their research, attaching a special tracker to it.

Devices for controlling the movement of marine animals existed before, but their duration was limited to a few hours. A new tracker called ABU (Advanced Dive Behavior) can function for seven weeks, continuously transmitting information to scientists. After completing his work, he detaches from the whale and floats to the surface.

It informs about the place of ascent using LED lights and a GPS signal. ABU records whale depth, movement, body position, light level and water temperature. The information obtained is collected and carefully analyzed by scientists.

The tracker is able to monitor the behavior of a whale diving to a depth of 1000 meters and staying there for up to 75 minutes. It can reveal certain patterns in swimming, feeding, ambient temperature, and what happens to whales when ships are nearby.