Ocean WiFi 'hot spots' to watch marine life

Feb. 18, 2013 at 4:02 PM

BOSTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Tracking marine animal movements and relaying them by a series of "ocean WiFi hot spots" could help protect marine ecosystems, a U.S. researcher says.

Stanford marine sciences Professor Barbara Block said innovative tracking of ocean-going creatures would involve electronic tags combined with receiver-carrying mobile glider platforms and instrumented buoys.

Data gathered in this way could help protect ecosystems by helping understand their function, population structure, fisheries management and species' physiological and evolutionary constraints, a Stanford release said Sunday.

Block described her proposal to "wire" ocean environments Sunday at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.

Block's proposal would build on the global Census of Marine Life, a $25 million, decade-long study using electronic tagging that has allowed international marine scientists to map ocean hot spots.

Block's work is part of an ongoing effort to establish a global network of instruments to more comprehensively study the biosphere as it is altered -- at unprecedented rates -- by human activity and climate change.

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