In the process, researchers can determine whether right whales have been detected within range of each buoy and then alert Excelerate Energy and, perhaps eventually, other ships using maritime telecommunications networks.
Thanks to these efforts, for the first time, ship captains can receive continuous information on where the whales are so they can slow down and avoid tragic collisions, said Clark, lead scientist on the project. Scientific studies indicate that the death of just one or two breeding females a year will lead to the populations extinction. Slowing down for whales will make a big difference.
The WHOI Mooring Operations, Engineering, and Field Support Group has been designing, building, and deploying scientific instruments in the sea for decades, making dozens of installations around the world each year for researchers from WHOI and many other institutions and companies.
Kemp and Clark have been working together on the whale-detection system since 2003, testing several different hydrophones and mooring designs. The team recently deployed three whale detection buoys in Cape Cod Bay for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and two off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.
|Contact: Media Relations|
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution