Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Save Our Seas Deepwater Telemetry Project

Scientist Edd Brooks with the Bahamas Shark Research and Conservation Program is a busy man.

His recent project could not be more timely with the recent push to make the whole of The Bahamas into a shark preserve.

Expedition Report:

The initial success of the deep water pilot project previously reported before has continued. So far 32 individual surveys, resulting in eighty animals from nine different species: Cuban dogfish (Squalus cubensis), Roughskin dogfish (Centroscymnus owstoni), Smoothound (Mustelus canis insularis), Gulper shark (Centrophorus granulousus), Taiwan gulper (Centrophorus niaukang), Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformes), Bluntnose sixgill (Hexanchus griseus), Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai) and the Sawtail catshark (Galeus springeri).

However, the catches have been dominated by the cuban dogfish and the gulper shark.

Perhaps the most exciting news is the deployment of pop-up satellite archival transmitters (PSATs) on gulper sharks (Centrophorous granulosus) and the Taiwan gulper shark (Centrophorous niaukang), which will provide the first movement and habitat use data for these animals. Seventeen individual gulper sharks, comprising both male and female ranging in size from 52 – 105 cm and four Taiwan gulper sharks ranging in size from 130 – 156 cm have been captured. With one X-Tag deployed on each of the two species of gulper sharks, the team anxiously awaits the pop off periods of 30 days and 5 months.

Until the recent development of the X-Tag by Microwave Telemetry, Inc. there was not a PSAT small enough to deploy on a smaller species like the gulper sharks. The X-Tag weighing only 40g and pressure rated to 2500m is roughly half the size of the original archival pop-up tag which opens new possibilities for research on a variety of deep ocean sharks, many of which are under 1m in total length. Twelve more X-Tags are planned for deployment on the gulper sharks throughout the duration of the pilot project.

Complete Post.