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GPS Tracking Sunfish

GPS Tracking Sunfish – Advancing Marine Biology

Welcome to the forefront of marine biology: GPS tracking sunfish, or Mola mola. This innovative technique offers new perspectives on these marine giants. Detailed observation of their movement patterns and behaviors becomes possible. This technological advancement unveils the sunfish’s role in our complex marine ecosystem. In this article, we’ll explore the valuable intersection of technology and marine biology. The focus? The captivating Mola mola. Join us in understanding how GPS tracking propels marine research to new depths.


Related Video: VlogBrothers – Sunfish

What is a Sunfish – The Intriguing Sunfish, Mola Mola

Ever wondered about the enigmatic ocean sunfish? The sunfish, scientifically known as mola mola, is an entrancing marine creature predominantly found in tropical, temperate oceans. With a unique texture, their skin feels like sandpaper and is often coated in a thick layer of mucus.

The sunfish’s appearance is like no other. Imagine a fish with a remarkably truncated body, flanked by long sweeping fins. The color? Mostly silverish, their bodies are dynamic canvases showcasing changeable spotty patterns. Notice the rounded tails too – a signature trait of these intriguing ocean dwellers.

A crowning fact is that the sunfish holds the title of the world’s largest bony fish. Despite its size, the sunfish has a diet primarily composed of small creatures like gelatinous zooplankton. This pelagic fish that surfaces frequently is a sight to behold in the blue ocean.

Living in warmer waters that vary in sea surface temperatures, these marine animals are integral parts of the marine biological ecosystem. They reveal a wealth of information about the health and patterns of ocean life. By studying the mola mola, we step closer to uncovering the secrets of the marine world. A deep dive into the life of the sunfish, thus, unfolds a captivating story of resilience and adaptation in the vast ocean.

Information on this sunfish mola was gathered on National Geographic.

GPS Tracking Case Study 1: A Pioneering Endeavour in Plymouth, United Kingdom

In 2015, a team led by Dr. David Sims from the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, UK, ventured into the unknown. Their objective? To monitor the elusive Mola mola’s movement patterns using GPS tracking technology. Faced with the challenge of the sunfish’s inconsistent surfacing behavior, they turned to Fastloc GPS, a system known for its precise spatial accuracy.

Strapping archival tags onto sunfish, they ventured hundreds of meters into the marine blue. Near real-time data relayed through Argos polar-orbiting satellites painted a picture of the ocean sunfish’s behavior in space and time. The result? A track reconstruction revealing the sunfish’s penchant for diving into depths to feed on gelatinous zooplankton. This significant finding enhanced our understanding of sunfish foraging patterns and their integral role in the marine ecosystem.

GPS Tracking Case Study 2: A Multi-Dimensional Approach In The Northeast Atlantic

Jumping forward to 2020, marine biologist Nuno Queiroz and his team conducted a study off the coast of the Gulf of Cadiz in the Northeast Atlantic. The goal was twofold: to understand the sunfish’s movements and behavior and to gain insights into the environmental monitoring of the water column in which the sunfish resided.

Utilizing a blend of GPS tracking and satellite relay of tag-derived light-level data, Queiroz’s team monitored sunfish movements across distinct spatial scales. They uncovered the basking sunfish’s largescale movement across hundreds of kilometers, reaching depths of hundreds of meters into the blue ocean.

The solution was an integrated monitoring of Mola mola, revealing previously unknown hotspots in the blue. Their findings shone a light on a new dimension of sunfish behavior and its interaction with the environment. This case significantly bolstered our understanding of these marine animals’ role in the ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What role does longterm GPS tracking play in monitoring the ocean sunfish, also known as mola mola?

Longterm GPS tracking is an indispensable tool in studying the mola mola. Esteemed marine biologists, such as Nuno Queiroz, utilize this technology to decipher patterns of migration and interactions. As a result, we gain a treasure trove of real-time insights into the sunfish.

How does GPS tracking help in determining direction in fish monitoring?

Direction in fish monitoring hinges on the use of GPS data. Researchers rely on tag-derived light-level data to create track sections. These tracks highlight the sunfish’s movements and uncover their interactions with mesoscale eddies, which are circular ocean currents.

Can one compare the behaviour of basking sharks to that of sunfish through GPS tracking?

Absolutely, comparing the behaviour of basking sharks and sunfish is feasible with GPS tracking. Esteemed scientists, such as David Sims, harness this technology to delve into both species’ lives. They bring to light intriguing similarities and differences in foraging patterns, seasonal movements, and spatial scales.

What insights does tracking ocean sunfish in warmer waters offer?

Monitoring ocean sunfish in warmer waters offers invaluable adaptability insights. Researchers have observed a preference in mola mola for certain sea surface temperatures. More so, this technology reveals their capacity to traverse hundreds of kilometres and the resulting impact on their behaviour distribution.

Why is marine predator tracking, like the tracking of bumphead sunfish, of such importance?

The importance of tracking marine predators, such as the bumphead sunfish, lies in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. Insights into their movement rates and foraging patterns provide a clearer picture of the predator’s role in the larger oceanic food chain.

Matthew Henson
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