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Monterey Bay


Shark Net app for the iPhone

January, 2014

Dr. Barbara Block and a group at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station have developed an iOS app that shows the location of white sharks tagged with acoustic transmitters. Shark Net is a free app for iOS products (e.g., iPhone and iPad) and allows the public to track the movement of white sharks along with information on individual sharks.

How it works
Sharks are tagged near their dorsal fin with a unique transmitter that produces a coded ‘ping’, which travels through the water. Hydrophones, which serve as listening stations, have been temporarily installed along the coast of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary by Stanford researchers. As tagged sharks swim near hydrophones, the ping is detected by the hydrophone, and then transmits the signal up the mooring and it is relayed via satellite to the research team. This information is uploaded to the Shark Net app within an hour.

Image courtesy of TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Predators)

What is provided?
Individual white sharks show up as icons on a map anytime they swim near one of the hydrophones. Clicking on an icon allows the user to read about that particular shark and learn about its recent behavior and movement patterns. It also includes a photo of the dorsal fin, which is a unique feature to each white shark, much like a person’s fingerprint.

 

Where are the hydrophones?
With support from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 5 moorings have been deployed: the Farallon Islands, Tomales Point north of San Francisco, Point Reyes, Ano Nuevo, and Piedras Blancas, all of which are in National Marine Sanctuaries. The moorings are in place seasonally, when white sharks are more common along the coast of California (Fall and Winter).

 

Go to iTunes to download the free app today!