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Article

Asset Tracking Whales—First Deployment of a Custom-Made GPS/GSM Suction Cup Tag on Migrating Humpback Whales

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Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, Griffith University, Gold Coast 4222, Australia
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Whales & Climate Research Program, Griffith University, Gold Coast 4222, Australia
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Humpbacks & High-rises Inc., Gold Coast 4222, Australia
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CATS Customized Animal Tracking Solutions, Caloundra 4551, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jorge Miguel Rodrigues Fontes, Gui Manuel Machado Menezes and Eva Giacomello
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(6), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060597
Received: 4 May 2021 / Revised: 27 May 2021 / Accepted: 28 May 2021 / Published: 30 May 2021
The study of marine mammals is greatly enhanced through fine scale data on habitat use. Here we used a commonly available asset tracker Global Positioning System/Global Systems for Mobile Communication (GPS/GSM) integrated into a CATS suction cup tag to test its feasibility in providing real time location position on migrating humpback whales in coastal waters of eastern Australia. During two deployments—one on a suspected male and another on a female humpback whale—the tags provided location points with relatively high accuracy for both individuals albeit different swim behavior and surface intervals. In combination with an integrated archival data logger, the tag also provided detailed information on fine scale habitat use such as dive profiles. However, surface intervals were too short to allow for an upload of location data during deployment. Further improvements of the tag design will allow remote access to location data after deployment. Preliminary results suggested location acquisition was better when the tag was positioned well above the midline of the whale body. The technology promises less expensive, more reliable and more accurate short-term tracking of humpback whales compared to satellite relay tags, and it has the potential to be deployed on other marine mammals in coastal waters. View Full-Text
Keywords: suction cup tags; biotelemetry; biologging; humpback whales; fine scale movement; migratory behavior suction cup tags; biotelemetry; biologging; humpback whales; fine scale movement; migratory behavior
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MDPI and ACS Style

Meynecke, J.-O.; Liebsch, N. Asset Tracking Whales—First Deployment of a Custom-Made GPS/GSM Suction Cup Tag on Migrating Humpback Whales. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9, 597. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060597

AMA Style

Meynecke J-O, Liebsch N. Asset Tracking Whales—First Deployment of a Custom-Made GPS/GSM Suction Cup Tag on Migrating Humpback Whales. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2021; 9(6):597. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060597

Chicago/Turabian Style

Meynecke, Jan-Olaf, and Nikolai Liebsch. 2021. "Asset Tracking Whales—First Deployment of a Custom-Made GPS/GSM Suction Cup Tag on Migrating Humpback Whales" Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 9, no. 6: 597. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9060597

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