An exciting new paper has been published, from our friends at the Dutch organisation TNO – exploring how to get measurements of ambient (and other) noise from DTAGs.

DTAGs are tags with microphones implanted in them, that have provided us with some of the coolest insights into whale behaviour! But because they are put on the backs of animals, and they swim around, the sound of water rushing over the tag creates noise (it’s the same as when you blow air onto a microphone) which previously has limited what we can learn from acoustic tag deployments.

From the authors:

Noise of water flowing around the tag reflects the speed of the animal, but hinders ambient noise measurement. By removing measurements affected by flow noise, consistent ambient noise estimates were made for two killer whales (Orcinus orca) with DTAGs attached simultaneously. The method is applicable to any multi-channel acoustic tag, enabling application to a wide range of marine species.

This is an exciting development, because a number of species have been tagged using DTAGs (close to 1000 tags have been deployed!) and gives a lot of potential of what more we can learn from these kinds of tagging efforts!