One of the hardest things about protecting endangered whales is finding them – as I recently found out when reporting a story on North Atlantic right whales.
But now, the New England Aquarium is using GIS to track the leviathans to better understand the possible impacts of humans and the maritime industry on right whales from ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements. The technology also helps track animals wearing satellite tags and helps monitor various marine species and habitats as humans encroach on their ocean surroundings.
Brooke Wikgren, an assistant scientist and GIS specialist at the Aquarium will discuss this emerging research at a free public lecture at the Aquarium’s Harborside Learning Lab on March 28 at 7 p.m.
From an Aquarium press release: “With an increasing human population, GIS can be effective in researching how vulnerable marine animals live and thrive in the ocean.
Fishing, food, shipping, industry, and energy sources are all expanding, but consequently, there are competing demands on wildlife. Wikgren will discuss how GIS can determine how these different uses interact and overlap so better planning and solutions can minimize problems for marine animals. She also looks at ocean use conflicts as well as mapping marine species and habitats. She monitors satellite tagging of marine animals that have often been rehabilitated at the Aquarium after injuries or strandings, and she has assisted with geospatial research of the Phoenix Islands Marine Protected Area in the Central Pacific Ocean.”
To register, please go to www.neaq.org.
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