Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Novel tag developed for squid, jellyfish

ITAG links animal behavior, environmental conditions

Date:September 28, 2015

Source:Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Invertebrates, such as squid and jellyfish, play a crucial role in the marine food web and are also vital commercial fisheries. Despite their importance, little is known about their natural behaviors or how their environment influences those behaviors or physiology.

In a time of changing ocean chemistry and warming temperatures, understanding the impact that environmental changes may have on these animals is more important than ever.

"Squid and other soft-bodied invertebrates have almost open circulatory systems, so they're closely linked to their physical environment," says Aran Mooney, a biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "As the ocean environment changes, they probably change a lot in response."

To find out, Mooney and his collaborators at Stanford University, the University of Michigan (UM), and WHOI set out to create a new kind of data-logging tag, called the ITAG, specifically for small and delicate invertebrates. This novel instrument not only quantifies ocean conditions but also measures animals' responses to their physical environments in high resolution.

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