Equipment to tag, track and collect biopsies from whales and dolphins: the ARTS, DFHorten and LKDart systems

Kleivane, Lars
Kvadsheim, Petter Helgevold
Bocconcelli, Alex
Øien, Nils Inge
Miller, Patrick J. O.
Date Issued
Kleivane, Lars; Kvadsheim, Petter Helgevold; Bocconcelli, Alex; Øien, Nils Inge; Miller, Patrick J. O.. Equipment to tag, track and collect biopsies from whales and dolphins: the ARTS, DFHorten and LKDart systems. Animal Biotelemetry 2022 ;Volum 10.(1)
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Of all animals considered subjects for instrumentation for behavioral or physiological studies, cetaceans probably represent the greatest challenge to the engineer and biologist. The marine environment being harsh to electronics, evasive behavior during tagging approaches and the short time window available to attach instruments, all imply a need for innovative tagging solutions to facilitate better understanding of their life cycle, migration, physiology, behavior, health and genetics. Several animal-attached tag packages holding specific data loggers, e.g., time depth recorders, position, orientation, acoustic and video recorders for short to medium term studies, as well as tags developed for large scale migration telemetry studies are available as off-the-shelf devices, or in many cases as custom made sensor packages. Deployment of those instruments is often the limiting factor for data collection. The Aerial Remote Tag System (ARTS) is a flexible system which can easily be adapted to deploy different tag sensor packages and biopsy collection devices. This paper presents the history and design of the ARTS, and accessories developed for instrumentation and biopsy sampling of cetaceans, such as the recent developed ARTS–LKDart for biopsy sampling. Deployment of archival tags usually requires radio tracking of the instrumented animal, or at least tracking of the tag for recovery. Thus, we also here describe the automatic digital signal processing radio direction finder, the Direction Finder Horten (DFHorten unit).
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