Learning about whales

I’ve spent the last couple of days in a meeting about the future of whale research, with a focus on acoustics and ocean observing networks. What an eye-opener to be in a room full of biologists! It’s fantastic to hear about their research, and to hear their ideas for future experiments. It’s been a reminder to think outside the box. And it’s unbelievable that I’m lucky enough to be in the company of such experts in this field.

The meeting was organized by John Delaney, an oceanographer at the University of Washington, one of the main drivers behind the Regional Scale Nodes program (RSN). He gave a TED talk in April, sharing the message with a wider audience. Check it out below!

The meeting here over the last couple of days focussed an important part of the RSN program – passive acoustic tracking of marine mammals.

Some of things we talked about:
– What are the big research questions that we would like to address?
– What equipment and sensors will we need to answer these questions?
– How to tell people about it, and get the public, the policy-makers, the community in general aware of the importance of this project?

When the installation is complete, it will give us an unprecedented explosion of data about the ocean that we didn’t have access to before. And combining it with other ocean observing networks around the world (smaller versions exist in various locations in the world’s oceans) will give us the opportunity to understand processes in the ocean on a global scale.

Our very close neighbours to the north (Canadians, Yay!) – have already built a similar network that is up and running. It is on a smaller scale, but they already have data available – you can find their site HERE, and don’t forget to check out their ipad and iphone apps!