|University of Delaware researchers catching a sand tiger
shark, before inserting a tag in the animal that allows them to track
It's the first time a device like this has been used to find and instantly report where sharks hang out and migrate to, according to a release from the University of Delaware, whose researchers are behind the project.
The robot looks like a yellow torpedo and is a type of glider typically used to test the chemistry of ocean waters. The research team installed acoustic receivers on the robot that can find and read tags that have been placed on sharks, and immediately relay that information to the researchers back on land via wireless signals.
This summer, the researchers, led by Matthew Oliver at the University of Delaware, caught sharks up to 9 feet (3 meters) in length and inserted a new type of tag in the animals that will provide more information than ever before. Called VEMCO mobile transceivers (VMTs), these tags can both transmit and receive information to communicate their location and listen for the "pings" of other sharks, fish or marine mammals outfitted with acoustic tags.
"It will tell us not only where it is, but who it's with," Oliver said.