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Design Opportunities for Sea Turtle Satellite Tracking Devices

[+] Author Affiliations
Joseph Piacenza, Susan Piacenza, Alexia Kenney, Nikolai Shields

University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL

Salvador Mayoral

California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

Paper No. DETC2018-85583, pp. V004T05A024; 11 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 23rd Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference; 12th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, August 26–29, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5179-1
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Satellite-linked platform terminal transmitters (PTTs) enable biologists to study movements of sea turtles. However, PTTs often fail due to limited battery life, antenna breakage, biofouling, saltwater switch failure, and premature tag detachment. Also, PTTs induce hydrodynamic drag and may bias sea turtle behavior. Advances in technology continue to improve PTTs, however, design opportunities remain so that deployment duration is increased and behavioral biases are limited. We review how PTTs are used to obtain information on sea turtle biology, the current state-of-the-art, review recent innovations and highlight potential areas for design improvements. There remain several areas to focus on design improvements: (1) improve attachment methods so as to stretch as juveniles grow but do not add additional height to tag profile, (2) improve tag profile and attachment location on the turtle carapace to limit hydrodynamic drag, (3) experiment with different energy harvesting options to extend deployment duration, and (4) improve antenna design and material to enhance robustness and transmission quality. Capitalizing on emerging technology that allows for increasing miniaturization will likely create tags that extend deployment duration and induce negligible behavioral biases and will create data that best represents the true biology of sea turtle species in-water.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Design , Seas , Satellites



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