The DICT deploy VEMCO VR2 listening stations.

September 13, 2013 by dyertrust

Thursday, 12th September 2013, marked a revolutionary event in terms of data collection around Dyer Island. A line of five VEMCO VR2w listening stations were successfully deployed, by the Dyer Island Conservation Trusts research team and Marine Dynamics, to the south of Dyer Island. Each station is able to detect the coded ultrasonic signal from a range of tagged fish species such as white sharks, ragged tooth sharks, dusky kob, leervis (garrick), and white steenbras as well as other marine animals like turtles.

The South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) partnered with the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) and began the initial phase of VR2w deployments, as part of a national project in South Africa during 2011. Twenty stations were placed in both Algoa and Mossel Bay regions in 2011 followed by False Bay, Port St. Johns and Port Alfred in 2012. Dr Paul Cowley is SAIABs principle investigator and is in charge of co coordinating the maintenance and retrieval of data from each of the arrays.

The line of receivers we deployed today was donated to us by Save Our Seas foundation says Alison Towner. The fact that we see high numbers of white sharks visiting this area suggests that species richness is high. These stations will not only form an important component of future DICT studies and my PhD but will they will also increase our knowledge on a multitude of species utilising this important Biodiversity Hotspot.

The DICT plans to expand on the regional array of VR2ws in Gansbaai, in order to better understand the movements of white sharks. The aim of their future research project is to gain maximum coverage of the inshore, Island and peripheral hotspots which have already been established by the researchers during previous acoustic tracking expeditions. Our acoustic tracking work is often limited by adverse weather conditions and the advantage of using listening stations is that we will have absence presence data on tagged animals without the labour of having to physically follow them around on sea says Towner.

This is an exciting time for the DICT as our research moves forward. Thank you to Volkswagen South Africa, Save Our Seas and the Ocean tracking Network for your loyal support and sponsorship. We also thank our local and international Marine Dynamics shark tours and Dyer island Cruisesguests, who contribute to our conservation effort on a daily basis - your choice makes a difference.

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