Thursday, 3 July 2014

Chilean Devil Rays Found To Be Among The Deepest Sea Divers

April Flowers for – Your Universe Online

Researchers have always believed that Chilean devil rays (Mobula tarapacana) mostly lived near the ocean’s surface because they are most often observed gliding through shallow, warm waters. According to a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), that might not be the case. Their findings, published in Nature Communications, show that these are actually among the deepest-diving ocean animals.

“So little is known about these rays,” said Simon Thorrold, a biologist at WHOI. “We thought they probably travelled long distances horizontally, but we had no idea that they were diving so deep. That was truly a surprise.”

To record the movements of 15 Chilean devil rays as they moved through the central Atlantic Ocean, the team of international researchers used pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags during 2011 and 2012. The tags are attached to the animals with darts.

“We actually jump in the water and tag them ourselves,” he said. “We take a polespear, we swim down and deploy the tag. The animal’s not restrained in any way.”

The tags remain attached to the animal for up to 9 months, and record a wide variety of measurements, including water temperature, depth, and light levels of the water. When a tag detaches from the animal, it rises to the surface and transmits its data via the ARGO satellite system to computers back on shore.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails