A new study out of Oregon State University (OSU) praises a type of high-tech tag now being used to track whales, one that offers researchers better information, over longer periods of time, than prior tracking devices.
The tag, dubbed "Advanced Dive Behavior" (ADB), improves "by several orders of magnitude" the ability to track whales as they feed and exhibit other behaviors, according to OSU researchers writing in the journal Ecology and Evolution.
According to the study's authors, the ADB tags can deliver up to seven weeks of constant data – depth of dives, how long the whales stay underwater, their reactions to man-made noise, and their responses to changes in water temperature.
The tag provides "a broad picture of whale behavior and ecology that we've never had before," said the study's lead author Bruce Mate, in a statement.
Between 2007 and 2015, the OSU marine researchers used the ADB tags on sperm, blue and baleen whales and gathered data on the animals for up to 50 days at a stretch, logging thousands of GPS locations and dives.