Tagged Fishes Attract Underwater Predators More

February 8, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. acoustic /əˈku stɪk/ (adj.) – concerning sound or hearing
Example: A whale’s song is an acoustic call for a mate.

2. prey /preɪ/ (n.) – an animal that is hunted and eaten by another animal
Example: Deer are prey to lions.

3. inadvertently /ˌɪn ədˈvɜr tnt li/ (adv.) – accidentally or unintentionally
Example: The man inadvertently walked into an ongoing class. 

4. condition /kənˈdɪʃ ən/ (v.) – to make a habit of a previously unnatural behavior
Example: The dog was conditioned to sit when his owner gives a signal.

5. conservation /ˌkɒn sərˈveɪ ʃən/ (n.) – the act of protecting something to prevent it from being extinct
Example: Banning hunting and poaching is part of the government’s wildlife conservation plan.


Read the text below.
Fish with acoustic tracking devices are more likely to be prey, study says. 

This is the conclusion of experts from the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. In a study, they discovered that grey seals have learned to hunt fish with acoustic tags. The seals are able to detect the sound of the tags underwater, allowing for an easier search. As a result, the seals are inadvertently conditioned to associate the sound of the tags with food.

In the experiment, the researchers submerged 20 boxes in a pool. One box contained a non-tagged fish while another box contained a fish with an acoustic tag. The rest of the boxes were left empty. These boxes were randomly placed in the pool. Then, the researchers released ten seals that were not familiar with the sound of acoustic tags. Researchers monitored the length of time before the seals found the tagged fish.

The experiment was done in 20 trials. The researchers observed that in the first trial, subjects found the tagged fish in 30 minutes. By the last trial, the seals were able to locate the tagged fish in under a minute. These results prove that acoustic tags and other similar devices can change the natural habits of sea creatures. 

Acoustic tags are common instruments used in scientific studies and conservation efforts. Scientists use these devices to monitor the conditions and behaviors of sea creatures, such as life span, population, and migration habits.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         After reading this article, do you think scientists should keep using acoustic tags on fish? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think we need to study the conditions and habits of sea creatures? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What do you think would be a good method to conserve the lives of fish? Please explain your answer.
·         How is wildlife conservation done in your country? Please explain your answer.

February 8, 2015