Our tagging work involves
special tags called pop-up archival transmitting (PAT) tags.
PAT tags are secured using a plastic anchor inserted at the posterior
base of the dorsal fin. While attached, the tag records and logs
temperature, depth and light intensity. From light intensity,
day length and local noon are calculated. This information in
conjunction with sea surface temperature measurements is used
to document location. After a pre-programmed time, the tag releases
floats to the surface and uploads its data to satellite. Thus,
daily information on movements and behaviors are obtained without
having to relocate either the fish or tag. Should the tag release
early or the fish die and sink, the satellite tag will automatically
surface and initiate transmission. (For more information on
satellite tags see http://www.wildlifecomputers.com/Satellite%20Tags/PAT.htm
Our team has tagged Mola mola off San
Diego (California), Capetown (South Africa), Kamogawa (Japan)
and Queensland (Australia).
We have also tagged Masturus lanceolatus off
Hua Lien (Taiwan).
To date, six tags have reported and we are
in the midst of analyzing our data. Well be posting our
exciting results soon so stay tuned. The sunfish have some
dark secrets to divulge.
The mola team recently returned from a successful
tagging trip to Japan where 2 more tags were deployed on Mola
mola with the help of the Kamogawa SeaWorld and the Fisheries
Cooperative Association of Kamogawa. These tags are due to
release on Halloween 2003. Whilst over in Japan, the team also
discovered a 1996 record of a Japanese Mola mola that appears
to be a new world record! Check out: http://news.nationalgeographic.com
The mola team is also planning to tag more sunfish this July
and August off the coast of California. And come December,
theyll be heading to South Africa.