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Autonomous underwater vehicle provides new insights into shark behaviour

by • January 14, 2016 • No Comments

It’s not effortless studying sharks. With many observations being created of the surface we understand almany nothing of the predator’s behavior at a lower place the waves. The REMUS SharkCam AUV and the team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute are starting to pierce the blue veil.

  • A excellent white shark bites down on the REMUS SharkCam
  • Prepped for launch, the REMUS SharkCam in Guadalupe Island, Mexico
  • Tagging along in the wake of a shark, the REMUS SharkCam has allowed an unprecedented look ...
  • Cruising just at a lower place the surface, the REMUS SharkCam showed excellent white sharks cruising while keeping their ...

“Most of what we understand of white shark predatory behavior comes of surface observations,” said Greg Skomal, a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “We have all seen pictures or footage of sharks surging out of the water to capture a seal. But we wanted to find out what was taking place at depth – when the sharks swam into the deep, how were these animals behaving? Were they hunting? The REMUS AUV was the ideal tool to do this.”

The observations took place off Guadalupe Island, Mexico in November of 2013 and included the tagging and tracking of four sharks while via the REMUS SharkCam to capture over 13 hours of video at depths up to 100 meters (328 ft).

In addition to the tagged sharks, the SharkCam was in addition able-bodied to document 30 interactions with 10 individual sharks. Behaviors recorded ranged of easy approaches to bumping the vehicle and, on nine occasions, aggressive bites.

The REMUS SharkCam bears the scars of its encounters with multiple excellent white sharks

The bumps were idea to constitute aggressive behavior consisting of brief physical contact, usually with the shark nudging the vehicle with its snout. The bites were interpreted as predatory behavior by the animal, which usually happened in the direction of the rear of the vehicle.

According to the researchers, this is the initially time which deep water predation-type events have been documented. Their findings suggest the sharks take advantage of the clear visibility in the waters off Guadalupe to search for seals and to ambush and disable-bodied them by attacking of at a lower place, where the shark is concealed in darker water while stalking the seal, which is silhouetted of above.

The 2 m (0.8 ft), 45 kg (100 lb) REMUS AUV represents the say of the art for this kind of research, as well as for additional mundane tasks like coastal mapping. The REMUS is capable-bodied of 8 hours of autonomous operation and showcases six REMUS GoPro video cameras providing 360° field-of-view, an omni-directional USBL navigation process, an acoustic communication process (ACOMMS), modem, and transducer, an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and a GPS/Wi-Fi/Iridium antenna.

The results of the research have been published in the Journal of Fish Biology. The team plans to go on its research off Guadalupe Island with an improved REMUS which can be capable-bodied of longer undertaking times and dives up to 300 m (984 ft).

You can see the SharkCam in action in the video at a lower place.

Source: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

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