Posts Tagged ‘technology helping whales’

Robots Helping Nature

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Surprising even to me, as an artist, I also love technology and being married to an internet architect it is easy for me to convince him to purchase the latest gadget out there (he usually wants it, too). So when I hear about scientists using technology to learn more about nature, I want to find out more. It is true, technology is used in pretty much every aspect of our lives, but animals, nature, and the wild is about as far as you can get from anything to do with computers or robots. I was excited to read about robots that are used to detect endangered whales in the waters off the coast of Portsmouth, NH, about an hour from where I live.

The robots, called gliders, are able to listen to the calls of whales and report back to researchers on shore. Sofie Van Parijs, leader of the Passive Acoustic Research Group at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) said “These gliders provide a great complement to this system. Knowing where right whales are helps you manage interactions between an endangered species and the human activities that impact those species.”

Besides tracking the whales in the water, another goal was to collect samples of the crustaceans or zooplankton on which the whales feed to have a better understanding of the ocean’s conditions and how these conditions affect the food the whales eat, and what is it that attracts the whales to a certain area, i.e., the New England coast. Through the efforts of the team, which included experts on identifying right whales from the New England Aquarium, during their week on the research ship, the experts recognized four whales of which two males were born in 2006, one male was born in 2004, and one female was born in 2008.

For more information about this exciting discovery, go to the Science Daily website: