UK & World News
Shark-Tracking Robot Hits The Ocean Waves
Scientists in America have launched a floating robot that will track the movements of great white sharks.
The self-propelled Wave Glider will relay a live feed of the migration of the animals to anybody with a smartphone app called Shark Net.
The three-metre long solar-powered robot will cruise the Pacific Ocean around San Francisco, relaying signals from tags that have been fixed to sharks and other marine creatures.
More than 4,300 Pacific predators have been tagged, including sharks, tunas, whales, seals, turtles and seabirds, as part of a conservation programme called Blue Serengeti.
Barbara Block, professor of marine sciences at Stanford University, said the robot, and a network of fixed buoys in the area, act as "ocean WiFi hotspots" to detect any tags within 350 metres.
She said: "Our goal is to use revolutionary technology that increases our capacity to observe our oceans and census populations, improve fisheries' management models, and monitor animal responses to climate change."
The free Shark Net app, which is currently only available for Apple devices, includes interactive maps as well as unique markings and fin shapes used by the researchers to recognise the creatures in the wild.
App developer Dr Randall Kochevar said: "People realise this is important but it's hard for them to connect on a visceral, personal level to the incredible biodiversity.
"Through this app, we're able to put the Blue Serengeti right in their hands.
"They can follow individual sharks and learn about their lives and feeding habits."