discussion / Biologging  / 20 September 2016

Satellite tags for marine turtle recommendations


Anyone out there recommend satellite tags for marine turtles? Am looking for the usual qualities - location precision, long battery life, and low cost. Tags will primarily be placed on green sea turtles, but it would be nice if they were small enough to also work on olives and hawksbills.

Any and all insights are welcome!

Cheers, Paul 

Hi Paul, 

According to @Steffen  , Brendan Godley and Annette Broderick at the University of Exeter are the go-to people to ask about turtle tracking. They helped set up the seaturtle.org site, which is a fantastic resource for anyone even thinking about turtle tracking. They give a really detailed rundown of all considerations for satellite tracking turtles, identify the main manufacturers and share the main benefits and drawbacks for these units based on their experience (see below). They also list key contact details for all the manufacturers. All in all a fantastic resource. Find out more here: http://www.seaturtle.org/tagging/satellite.shtml

I was interested to see that one of the manufacturers identified by SeaTurtle.org is the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University. As it turns out, we have a couple of members from this group here on WILDLABS. @douggillespie and @jamie_mac - I realise your work is in acoustic monitoring of marine mammals, but perhaps you are aware of the work other members of your team are doing? Are you still developing tags that can be used to track sea turtles? 

Finally, @SaraTC - you mentioned some field based colleagues that were involved with turtle tracking, perhaps you could either connect or convey their experiences? 

Hope this is helpful!




Hi Paul

Not much to add to that. We've been working with ZSL while they adapt their Mataki tags to turtles - might be worth getting in touch with them to see whether they can offer a good cheap option that also includes dive data (although it sounds like you don't need that). Other thing to look for is getting a fast-lock tag.


I know the instrumentation group have been working on some pretty neat smaller tags but you'd need to contact them for details.


Sorry I can't be of much more help than that.



Paul Glover-Kapfer
Fauna & Flora
Conversation starter level 2
Poster level 1

Hello again,

Thanks for the pointers Jack and Jamie and Steph.

ZSL - Anybody able to provide details on the new turtle tags?

I do require depth data, and had erroneously assumed most turtle tags included that capability. Lo and behold the price add to include depth sensors seems to be approximately $1,600...

I've received quotes from Wildlife Computers and Biotrack, have yet to hear back from Telonics, and will reach out to SMRU. If anyone has any other suggestions please do let me know and I'll post the results of my search here.

Thanks all, Paul