RoboMola: The first fish!

After a nervous wait, we have finally found our first sunfish. Weighing 18.2kg and measuring 101.5cm fintip to fintip, sunfish Giorgio is a fantastic creature!

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Although we cannot be sure of a sunfish’s sex unless we dissect them, sunfish Giorgio is named for the policeman of the PMPA who very kindly skippered our boat today. We have taken a small blood sample, mucus swipe and tiny tissue snip, before taking his measurements and equipping him with state of the art dataloggers. Giorgio will be carrying a miniature accelerometer, a VHF radio transmitter and a satellite tag on his new belt for 2 hours, before the belt’s buckle dissolves and floats to the surface, leaving him free once again!

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RoboMola ready for release!!

Then of course, after the two hours are up, we will have to go and find the harness… which is easier said than done! After using the satellite tag to approximate the belt’s positon, we use the VHF radio to hone in on. Or at least that was the plan, but as we only found Giorgio late in the day, we have had to return home empty handed in order to get back to port in time. But never fear, we will be out on the open seas again tomorrow to collect the tag and then we will have a brief window into the mysterious behaviour, diet and energy use of the ocean sunfish. Thanks Giorgio!

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