Image Downloading data from animal tags

TLF ID M008764

This is a colour photograph of a scientist in a laboratory using a laptop computer to download data from electronic animal tags. To the right of the computer is a specialised communication box into which the electronic tag is placed. The scientist in the image is Dr Miles Lamare, a marine biologist involved in sea star research in New Zealand. (Classification - Phylum: Echinodermata; Class: Asteroidea; Order: Forcipulatida; Family Asteriidae.)

Educational details

Educational value
  • Dr Miles Lamare and fellow researchers in New Zealand were involved in creating a new tagging technique. These scientists wanted to electronically tag sea stars as part of a sea star research project. While tagging marine vertebrate animals is common, very few invertebrates have ever been tagged.
  • Attaching electronic tags to sea stars is challenging as sea stars are able to shed their arms. Dr Lamare's research group had success attaching tags by piercing an arm with metal. They used this technique to tag eleven-armed sea stars ('Coscinasterias muricata') in Fiordland, New Zealand. Sea stars are important marine predators and play a role in keeping the numbers of other organisms down. Sea stars are predators of many types of food including mussels, clams and oysters. Sea stars are preyed upon by sharks and rays.
  • The electronic tags were attached to sea stars for about three weeks, and recorded information about water temperature, depth and salinity. After being removed, the tags were placed in a communication box attached to the computer. The data stored on the tags was then downloaded and analysed.
  • Electronic tags are a useful tool for gathering information about animals and their environment. Attaching tags to marine animals is an effective way of understanding more about ocean ecology. Data obtained from tags can help scientists form conservation plans.
Year level

5; 6; 7; 8

Learning area
  • Science

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: University of Waikato
  • Organization: University of Waikato
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: NEW ZEALAND
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
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