TED.COM: Tuna are ocean athletes — fast, far-ranging predators whose habits we’re just beginning to understand. Marine biologist Barbara Block fits tuna with tracking transponder tags that record unprecedented amounts of data about these gorgeous, threatened fish and the ocean habitats they move through.
“Maybe use live links from blue whales and white sharks. Make killer apps if you will. A lot of people are excited about when sharks actually went under the Golden Gate Bridge. Let’s connect the public to this activity right on their iPhones”. Barbara Blocks
Barbara Block takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying how large pelagic fish live and travel in the open ocean. Using novel electronic tags, Block and her team track large predators — tunas, billfish and sharks — on their ocean journeys. She also studies how and why muscle makes heat at a molecular level in fish.
Working out of Stanford‘s Hopkins Marine Station, Block and her colleagues run the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, a member of the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP)program. Combining tracking data with physiological and genetic analyses, Block (a MacArthur “genius” grant winner) is developing population and ecological models to help us understand these fishes’ roles in the ocean ecosystem — and perhaps learn to better manage these important food fish.