OSLO (Reuters) - A floating robot has been deployed to track great white sharks in the Pacific as part of efforts to understand the giant predators.

The “wave glider”, which from above looks like a yellow surfboard, picks up signals from tagged fish up to 1,000 feet away in the ocean and then sends their positions to researchers via a satellite transmitter.

Scientists have only a hazy understanding of where great white sharks, portrayed as ferocious killers in films like “Jaws”, swim in the oceans. The new robot will give insights into their movements. “Here we are in the 21st century and scientists have just put a rover on Mars. And we don’t understand what is going on in the oceans,” said Barbara Block, a marine sciences professor at Stanford University in California in charge of the project. “We will send a wave glider out to follow the sharks,” she told Reuters. In one eight-day test, the glider, made by California-based Liquid Robotics and which moves at less than walking speed, made 200 detections of 19 individual sharks.