Saturday, November 24, 2007


Ever heard about TOPP?
Me neither, until Karen from our Tongan friends and partners at Dive Vava'u (please ask about our special, two-country adventure packages during the Tongan Humpback season) pointed me to their awesome Website.

TOPP stands for Tagging Of Pacific Predators and aims at determining the Pacific Ocean's hot spots where apex predators congregate to feed and mate, as well as the prevailing oceanic migratory routes they follow.
It began in 2000 as one of 17 projects of the Census of Marine Life, an ambitious 10-year, 80-nation endeavor to assess and explain the diversity and abundance of life in the oceans, and where that life has lived, is living, and will live.

Several dozen TOPP researchers from eight countries began venturing into offshore waters, remote islands, and along rugged coastlines to attach satellite tags to 22 different species of top predators that roam the Pacific Ocean. As of 2007, they have tagged more than 2,000 animals, including Elephant Seals, Great White Sharks, Leatherback Turtles, Blue Whales, Squid, Albatross and Sooty Shearwaters.
As these animals began sending back data via Argos, a polar-orbiting satellite, they opened the door to a world we'd never seen before: a picture of their migration routes and their ecosystem.

Take as an example the map pictured here which shows the interweaving tracks of several tagged pelagic species , including Laysan Albatross (blue dotted line in the western Pacific Ocean), Leatherback Turtles, (white tracks), Salmon Sharks (in red), and Elephant Seals (in green).

And what about the tagging we do at Shark Reef?
In due course, I don't know when, I don't know how, we'll be part of it all - and that's a Promise!

In the meantime, the site offers a cornucopia of Data, Publications and News which is second to none and that will entertain and amaze you for weeks and months to come.


No comments: