Protecting Whales: Counting Them From Space

0
462
After seeing their numbers slashed due to overhunting in the 20th century, North Atlantic right whales still face plenty of threats, including ship strikes, habitat degradation and pollution. A mother and her calf are seen in this aerial image from 2005. ( NOAA/NMFS NOAA News via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic )

Can Scientists Protect North Atlantic Right Whales by Counting Them From Space?

by Brigit Katz/Smithsonianmag.com

Counting animal populations is one of the key ways that conservationists gauge the wellbeing of a given species. But certain creatures are hard to track—like whales, which can traverse thousands of miles of miles across the ocean, sometimes to remote feeding grounds. Now, the New England Aquarium in Boston is collaborating with Draper, a Massachusetts-based engineering firm, on a cutting-edge project to monitor whale species—one that involves counting the marine mammals from space.

Experts will gather satellite sonar and radar data, relying on sources ranging from European space agencies to amateur radio operators, according to the Associated Press. The project, aptly titled “Counting Whales from Space,” seeks to create a probability map of where whale species might be located, which will in turn allow conservationists to monitor where the animals are going, and why.

“If whales are moving out of one area and into another, what’s the reason for that?” asks John Irvine, Draper’s chief scientist for data analytics, in an interview with the AP. “Is it due to ocean warming? Is it changes in commercial shipping lanes? These are all questions we’ll be able to start answering once we have the data.”

Read More:

 

ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy