Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Fishery Bulletin





First Page


Last Page



The recent development of the p)p-up satellite archival tag (PSAT) has allowed the collection of information on a tagged animal, such as geolocation, pressure (depth), and ambient water temperature. The success of early studies, where PSATs were used on pelagic fishes, has spurred increasing interest in the use of these tags on a large variety of species and age groups. However, some species and age groups may not be suitable candidates for carrying a PSAT because of the relatively large size of the tag and the consequent energy cost to the study animal. We examined potential energetic costs to carrying a tag for the cownose ray (Rhinopiera bonasus). Two forces act on an animal tagged with a PSAT: lift from the PSATs buoyancy and drag as the tag is moved through the water column. In a freshwater flume, a spring scale measured the total force exerted by a PSAT at flume velocities from 0.0) to 0.60 m/s. By measuring the angle of deflection of the PSAT at each vel( city, we separated total force into its constituent forces-lift and drag. The power required to carry a PSAT horizontally through the water was then calculated from the drag force ani velocity. Using published metabolic rates, we calculated the power for a ray of a given size to swim at a specified velocity (i.e., its swimming power). For each velocity, the power required to carry a PSAT was compared to the swimming power expressed as a percentage, %TAX (Tag Altered eXertion). A %TAX greater than 5% was felt to be energetically significant. Our analysis indicated that a ray larger than 14.8 kg can carry a PSAT without exceeding this criterior. This method of estimating swimming power can be applied to other species and would allow a researcher to decide the suitability of a given study animal for tagging with a PSAT.


Atlantic Bluefin Tuna; Movements; Tracking