TOPP Scientists Deploy Camera Tags on White Sharks
Stanford University postdoctoral scholars Taylor Chapple and Adrian Gleiss venture off the coast of Gansbaai, South Africa, to Shark Alley to deploy cutting-edge camera tags on great white sharks. The goal of this expedition is to use the sophisticated tags with multiple sensors and cameras to more thoroughly understand the predatory behaviors of these remarkable predators beneath the sea.
Taylor visited “CBS This Morning” to discuss the project.
The camera tags, developed specifically for this project by Customized Animal Tracking Solutions, combine a high-definition video camera with a suite of onboard sensors including 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscopes and magnetometers as well as depth, temperature and light sensors. This combination of sensors allows the scientists to observe the white sharks’ surroundings from the sharks’ point of view, while also providing a highly detailed profile of their body position and movements.
“These tags allow us ride along with the sharks to collect data on their movements and behaviors that we’ve never been able to capture before,” said Chapple.
The camera tags are attached to the sharks’ dorsal fin using a unique clamp mechanism, allowing them to stay attached for days at a time before being released and recovered. Over the course of the expedition, the team deployed camera tags on 38 sharks, nearly all of which were successfully recovered and the data downloaded.
“It is great to see the advances of modern technology transferred into animal tags. The combination of video systems with high-tech sensors not only allows us to see of what the animal sees, but also to quantify the movement of these animals in unprecedented detail,” said Gleiss.
The expedition was funded by National Geographic and Stanford University. Taylor and Adrian were joined by veteran wildlife filmmaker Andy Casagrande who was filming for National Geographic Television. You can watch trailers for the shows below, or click here for upcoming show times.