Improving Attachments of Remotely-Deployed Dorsal Fin-Mounted Tags: Tissue Structure, Hydrodynamics, In Situ Performance, and Tagged-Animal Follow-Up
ALASKA UNIV FAIRBANKS
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We recently developed small satellite-linked telemetry tags that are anchored with small attachment darts to the dorsal fins of small- and medium-sized cetaceans. These Low Impact Minimally- Percutaneous External-electronics Transmitter LIMPET tags have opened up the potential to monitor the movements of numerous species not previously accessible because they were too large or difficult to capture safely, but too small for tags that implant deeply within the body. One goal of this project is to improve upon our existing tagging methodology to achieve longer, less variable attachment durations by carefully examining the factors that affect attachment success. Our key goal is to develop a method for attaching tags to cetaceans that provides the data needed to answer critical conservation and management questions without an adverse effect on the tagged animal. Therefore, we will also conduct follow-up studies of whales that have been tagged with a remotely-deployed dorsal fin-mounted tag to accurately quantify wound healing and the effects of tagging on whale survival, reproduction, and behavior. The combination of these approaches will provide an improved understanding of some of the key factors affecting tag attachment duration as well as a more complete understanding of impacts to individuals due to tagging.
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