Satellite Tagging Basking Sharks

How Does A Satellite Tag Work?

The satellite tag is programmed by the scientist and placed on the basking shark. When the satellite tag is at the surface it can transmit the information abut the sharks whereabouts to the Argos Satellite Array high above planet Earth. This satellite array beams this data to the Argos central computer and the scientist who tagged the shark finds out where it has been by email.

Manx Basking Shark Watch Uses 2 types of satellite tag made by Wildlife Computers in America.

  1. MK10 PAT tags store lots of information but we don’t get to find out much about where the shark has been until after the tag comes off the shark and it beams the information to us. Once we have that data we can work out where the shark has been, how deep the water was, what the water temperature was there and whether the animal was likely to be searching for food, hanging around in a good feeding area or travelling fast to another place where the feeding might be better. There is a nice description of how pop-up archival tags work on Wikipedia see
    © copyright Photo Yannick Cherel
  2. SPOT (spatial position or temperature tags) are more immediately interesting to the public because they transmit their position to a website, Wildlife, and the scientists can tell where the sharks are. We put a 48-hour delay on and then the interested public can follow the sharks travels while the satellite tag stays on. To find out more click the image below and to register to receive updates by email here


    See to learn more about SPOT tags

    © Photograph Charlie Elder
    © Photograph Charlie Elder