Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tag testing

For a quick summary, we've been spending the past few days catch squid, tagging at the Flying Sharks, and tweaking and learning about the new tag. The ITAG is a prototype tag that measures the acceleration (movement) and orientation of the animal, as well as some of the physical parameters of the surrounding water. But because we are using prototypes, we have to tweak some of the characteristics like the the floatation and release mechanisms. So with each test of the squid or on its own, we add or remove weight (to change flotation) or set timed releases and see if the tag releases on time.  It's quite an exciting process because we're moving forward with each step. But these early tests require being very careful and diligent. This is the foundation for testing (and not losing) our tags in the field. Pedro Afonso, one of our University of the Azores DOP colleagues is also practicing tagging and attachment methods to a deceased squid.

 An ITAG after it was released from the squid. It should be floating antenna up and is obviously not. We've been tweaking how extra weight is distributed.
Pedro and Kakani are fine-tuning the ITAG attachment methods with a dead squid.

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