A Novel Biologging Tag that Minimizes the Hydrodynamic Loading on Marine Animals


  • Aarushi Tiwari




Animal welfare, biologging, computational fluid dynamics, drag, tag design


Although biologging tags, which are externally attached sensor packages deployed on marine animals, have become essential conservation tools, a core issue with current tag designs is that they are rarely tested for hydrodynamics and may generate substantial hydrodynamic loading (drag and lift forces) on animals. This may cause tags to impede animal physiology, give rise to injuries at the site of attachment, and cause tags to relay unrepresentative data. This study aims to design a new biologging tag form that houses the DTAG3 electronics and reduces the total drag and lift induced on marine animals. One starting model (GPS Phone Tag referred to as Model 0), three iterations, and the final design (Model D), were constructed using CAD software. They were tested with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to obtain and analyze the drag and lift force. All models were tested at speeds between 1-5 m/s, with 400 trials. The Model D includes a narrow elliptical shape to maintain laminar boundary layers, a pointed tail shape to avoid flow separation, canards for frontal downforce, tabs to reduce form drag, streamlined hydrophones, and dimples to delay flow separation. The CFD simulation results demonstrated that Model D reduced drag by up to 56% and lift by upto 86% compared to Model 0. These results show the potential benefit of this design in reducing the impact of biologging tags on the behavior and energetics of marine animals, and in providing an unbiased and holistic view of the animal behavior for conservation management actions.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Aarushi Tiwari

Stevenson High School -

Deerfield, Illinois, USA



Alex Shorter, K., Murray, M. M., Johnson, M., Moore, M., & Howle, L. E. (2013). Drag of suction cup tags on swimming animals: Modeling and measurement. Marine Mammal Science, 30(2), 726–746. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12083 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12083

Aoki, K. A., Muto, K. M., Okanaga, H. O., & Nakayama, Y. N. (2009). AERODYNAMIC CHARACTERISTIC AND FLOW PATTERN ON DIMPLES STRUCTURE OF A SPHERE. Flucome 2009, 10(1), 2–10. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/48277545/aerodynamic-characteristic-and-fl ow-pattern-on-dimples-structure

Bograd, S., Block, B., Costa, D., & Godley, B. (2010). Biologging technologies: new tools for conservation. Introduction. Endangered Species Research, 10, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00269 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00269

Croll, D. A., Osmek, S. D., & Bengtson, J. L. (1991). An Effect of Instrument Attachment on Foraging Trip Duration in Chinstrap Penguins. The Condor, 93(3), 777–779. https://doi.org/10.2307/1368216 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1368216

Fiore, G., Anderson, E., Garborg, C. S., Murray, M., Johnson, M., Moore, M. J., Howle, L., & Shorter, K. A. (2017). From the track to the ocean: Using flow control to improve marine bio-logging tags for cetaceans. PLOS ONE, 12(2), e0170962. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170962 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170962

Gallego, M. M. G. (2019, January 8). [Canards shown on car]. Upcommons.Upc.Edu. https://upcommons.upc.edu/bitstream/handle/2117/131200/memoria.pdf

Hussey, N. E., Kessel, S. T., Aarestrup, K., Cooke, S. J., Cowley, P. D., Fisk, A. T., Harcourt, R. G., Holland, K. N., Iverson, S. J., Kocik, J. F., Mills Flemming, J. E., & Whoriskey, F. G. (2015). Aquatic animal telemetry: A panoramic window into the underwater world. Science, 348(6240), 1255642. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1255642 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1255642

Jespen, N., Schreck, C., & Thorstad, E. B. (2005). A brief discussion on the 2% tag/bodymass rule of thumb. Aquatic Telemetry: Advances and Applications. Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Fish Telemetry Held in Europe. Ustica, Italy, 0–295.http://www.fao.org/3/y5999e/y5999e25.pdf

Joseph Katz, J. K. (2003). Race Car Aerodynamics: Designing for Speed (Engineering and Performance) (2nd ed.). 1. https://www.pdfdrive.com/race-car-aerodynamics-designing-for-speed-engineering-and-p erformance-e189938904.html

Moonesun, M. M., Mahdian, A. M., Korol, Y. M. K., Dadkhah, M. D., & Javadi, M. M. J. (2016). Concepts in submarine shape design. Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, 45(1), 100–104. http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/34868/1/IJMS%2045(1)%20100-104.pdf

Kay, W. P., Naumann, D. S., Bowen, H. J., Withers, S. J., Evans, B. J., Wilson, R. P., Stringell, T. B., Bull, J. C., Hopkins, P. W., & Börger, L. (2019). Minimizing the impact of biologging devices: Using computational fluid dynamics for optimizing tag design and positioning. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 10(8), 1222–1233. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210x.13216 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13216

Kyte, A., Pass, C., Pemberton, R., Sharman, M., & McKnight, J. C. (2018). A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based method for assessing the hydrodynamic impact of animal borne data loggers on host marine mammals. Marine Mammal Science, 35(2), 364–394. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12540 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12540

Morton, D. B., Hawkins, P., Bevan, R., Heath, K., Kirkwood, J., Pearce, P., Scott, L., Whelan, G., & Webb, A. (2003). Refinements in telemetry procedures: Seventh report of BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement, Part A. Laboratory Animals, 37(4), 261–299. https://doi.org/10.1258/002367703322389861 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1258/002367703322389861

PARK, H., LEE, D., JEON, W. P., HAHN, S., KIM, J., KIM, J., CHOI, J., & CHOI, H. (2006). Drag reduction in flow over a two-dimensional bluff body with a blunt trailing edge using a new passive device. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 563, 389. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022112006001364 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022112006001364

Rosen, D. A. S., Gerlinsky, C. G., & Trites, A. W. (2017). Telemetry tags increase the costs of swimming in northern fur seals,Callorhinus ursinus. Marine Mammal Science, 34(2), 385–402. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12460 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12460

Wilson, R., Coria, N., Spairani, H., Adelung, D., & Culik, B. (1989). Human-induced behaviour in Adelie penguins Pygoscelis adeliae. Polar Biology, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00238293 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00238293

Wilson, R. P., & McMahon, C. R. (2006). Measuring devices on wild animals: what constitutes acceptable practice? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 4(3), 147–154. https://doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295(2006)004[0147:MDOWAW]2.0.CO;2

Zhang, D., Hoop, J. M., Petrov, V., Rocho?Levine, J., Moore, M. J., & Shorter, K. A. (2019). Simulated and experimental estimates of hydrodynamic drag from bio?logging tags. Marine Mammal Science, 36(1), 136–157. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12627 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12627





How to Cite

Tiwari , A. . (2021). A Novel Biologging Tag that Minimizes the Hydrodynamic Loading on Marine Animals. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJOSCIENCE, 7(8), 30–37. https://doi.org/10.24113/ijoscience.v7i8.401