BBC Radio Wales Science Cafe interviews Professor Rory Wilson about animal tagging

How do penguins hunt squid under Antarctic sea ice? How rough and fast are the thermals a condor uses to boost it close to the roof of the world? And how does a whale shark, the biggest fish in the world, navigate the ocean depths?

These animals are going to places it’s almost impossible for a scientist to follow. Yet a research team at Swansea University have found a way of revealing these creatures’ secrets with a device scarcely bigger than a postage stamp.

In this week’s Science Cafe Adam Walton visits the University’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability to meet Prof. Rory Wilson. Part biologist, part inventor, his work is transforming our understanding of how the planet’s most enigmatic animals live their lives. His team at Swansea have used tiny remote-sensing tags to make some fascinating discoveries – from the emotional state of elephants to how whale sharks follow an up-and-down rollercoaster path through the oceans. And Rory is also the inventor of the ‘bumometer’, a device which is attached to penguins’ bottoms to analyse the way they digest fish!

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