TRACK YOUR SHARK OR SEA TURTLE

Ocean & Co proudly supports Mote Marine Laboratory! With every Sea Turtle Tracking bracelet purchased Ocean & Co will make a donation to aid in their marine research.

Mote Marine Laboratory is one of the world’s few remaining private marine research laboratories and, as a nonprofit organization, is funded through federal, state and local grants, individual donors and organizations such as Ocean & Company.

Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program utilizes sea turtle GPS trackers to analyse sea turtle migratory and nesting patterns. Their findings contribute to a better understanding of nesting trends and a brighter future for many generations of sea turtles to come.

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Mote Marine Laboratory is one of the world’s few remaining private marine research laboratories and, as a nonprofit organization, is funded through federal, state and local grants, individual donors and organizations such as Ocean & Company.

Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program utilizes sea turtle GPS trackers to analyse sea turtle migratory and nesting patterns. Their findings contribute to a better understanding of nesting trends and a brighter future for many generations of sea turtles to come.

Ocean & Co proudly supports Mote's mission! With every Sea Turtle Tracking bracelet purchased Ocean & Co will make a donation to Mote Marine Laboratories.


How do satellite transmitters work?

Researchers attach a battery-powered satellite transmitter to the sea turtle’s upper shell, or sharks dorsal fin. Each time the turtle or shark surfaces, the transmitter sends out data on its geographic location, which can be received by satellites orbiting overhead. In turn, the satellites send the data to scientists’ computers.

Why is it showing up on land sometimes?

The data points on the animals location vary in accuracy — the ones that appear to be on land are less accurate, and scientists take this into account when describing the migratory pattern. Accuracy depends on the number of messages the satellite receives from the transmitter, the positions of the transmitter and satellites in relation to each other, and the environmental conditions.

Why is my Animal not transmitting?

Transmissions can only be picked up during short windows of time when certain satellites are overhead and the sea turtle comes up for a breath at the surface. Mote’s tags are programmed to transmit each time the animal surfaces, though transmissions aren’t always successfully received by satellites. In other cases, tags may be programmed to transmit less often to save battery life. Also, transmissions vary in accuracy (see point 2 above), and Mote’s map does not show the least accurate transmissions. These factors can result in a few days with no received transmissions. Eventually, however, all transmitters stop sending information, and that can happen for several reasons:

  • Attachment or antenna failure: Sea turtles are known to hide under rocks, and loggerhead sea turtles have even been observed “scratching their backs” on rocks and reefs. These behaviors could dislodge the transmitter or break or damage its antenna.
  • Biofouling: Most transmitters have a “saltwater switch” which tells the transmitter it’s at the surface of the water (when its sensors are dry), where it can send data. However, the saltwater switch could be compromised by algae, or even coral, mussels or barnacles growing over the sensor, making it seem wet all the time. Mote scientists put anti-fouling paint on satellite tags to prevent this for as long as possible.
  • Mortality: All species of sea turtles and many sharks are threatened or endangered, which is why we are interested in tracking their behaviors. Scientists can sometimes guess at an animals cause of death based on transmitter data: For example, if an animal has been caught as by-catch by a commercial fishery, frequent transmissions in a line towards shore could indicate the animal is deceased aboard a fishing vessel headed towards shore.
  • Dead battery: Most batteries on transmitters can last up to a year. To save energy, transmitters only actively try to transmit when the sea turtle is at the water’s surface.

Sea Turtles


SEA TURTLES

Grasshopper

Connor

Bobby

JT

Grasshopper

Connor

Bobby

JT


SHARKS

Sandy

Maryse