The Role of Digital Electronics in Providing A Window into the World of Top Marine Predators
Electronic tags are providing new insights into the behavior of marine top predators. The Tagging of Pacific Pelagic (TOPP) is a 10-year program within the Census of Marine Life using electronic tagging technologies to document the movements and behaviors of marine predators in the North Pacific. The overarching goal is to advance electronic tagging technologies and scientific methods to meet the challenges of the 21st century for marine resource management and ocean modeling. TOPP’s objectives include 1) developing new tags that measure physical and biological parameters, 2) employing tagged animals as oceanographic samplers to collect surface and subsurface data for global ocean databases, 3) developing the infrastructure for web-based distribution of tagging data, 4) collecting sufficient information on species movements and their preferred environments to develop models of abundance and distribution for management and conservation. To date, 40 researchers from 78 countries have deployed over 2,000 tags on species ranging from albatross, to elephant seals, to bluefin tuna.
Daniel Costa is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He completed his Ph.D. working with sea otters at UCSC in 1978 and then went to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography were he completed postdoctoral research. He returned to UCSC in 1983. His research focuses on physiological and ecological adaptations that enable mammals and birds to survive in the ocean. His research as taken him to the far reaches for the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Australia to the Galapagos. He was a chief scientist for the two winter cruises in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. He has been involved in the development of tagging and tracking technologies since 1978. As a scientific officer at the Office of Naval Research he initiated ONRs program on marine mammal biology and administered projects focusing on electronic tag development and satellite tracking methodologies. He is currently a co-principal investigator of TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Pelagics) a multidisciplinary program to tag and track 22 different species of apex pelagic predators in the North Pacific Ocean.
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