The elasmobranch (Shark and Ray) team had a bit of an outing this past weekend, Mel, Dave and I took one of the Uni boats up the harbour for a bit of a reconnaissance mission checking out locations for our receivers.
Here we are, on the first of many outings (it was freezing!)
As a fairly shallow harbour for the most part, a significant proportion of the margins are exposed at low tide, meaning that we have to locate the receivers carefully. With such strong sun in the summer, exposure at low tide may cause them to overheat and malfunction which we don't want! We're also condending with strong currents in places, noise from the port, lots of recreational users, and a commercial fishing operation... on second thoughts can we borrow your harbour? It might be easier than ours...
As Dave drove up the harbour, Mel and I had a good look at all the sites that we thought might be a bit of an issue, and made some tentative decisions on placement, it was great to get out there and get off the chart and into reality.
It's always good to get out on the boat, after being postponed due to adverse weather conditions on Saturday we were treated to glassy conditions and even a stunning rainbow, maybe I won't swap our harbour after all!
We were even surrounded by eagle rays at one point, I'm going to take that as them wishing me good luck for the project!
There's still alot of work to do, and a good amount of funding to raise before we can deploy receivers and get onto tagging animals. The range of the receivers has to be tested, the shallowness and variable salinity of this esturine environment will possibly attenuate the distance that the receivers can pick up the tag signals. This means that if we place the receivers in the wrong place, we may have 'gappy' gates, that allow animals through without detection and render the study a bit pointless.
On that I should probably go and do some reading, so I'll leave you with that rainbow...