Scientists at the University of St. Andrews have found that acoustic tags, commonly used in tracking studies, may make tagged creatures easier prey, according to TreeHugger. They made the discovery using 10 seals that were captured in Scotland.
Researchers presented the seals with three boxes. One was empty, while the other two contained tagged and untagged fish. It wasn’t long before the seals started exclusively choosing the box that had tagged fish.
Apparently, seals began to key in on the sound emitted by the acoustic transmitters and learned that it meant a guaranteed meal. And when scientists moved the tags around, even placing them in boxes with no fish, the seals still chose the boxes that were pinging.