What a Ride!

We just came back from a very successful trip on SIO’s newest research vessel Sally Ride.  We recovered two coupled passive-active acoustic moorings that were purchased using a DURIP award from their first test deployment.  It was a great test and we now have a lot of data to go through!  The exciting part of the trip is that it was a science verification cruise for the Sally Ride; we were only the third group to conduct science on the vessel. Overall, we were very happy with it, especially with how quiet this ship is in comparison to any other we’ve been on.  In addition to the science parties on board, we also had quite a bit of media presence.  There has been a lot of interest in our new vessel and we sailed with reporters from ONR, KPBS, and our own SIO Communications Office.  Below are the links to the cool stories they wrote about our voyage.  Enjoy!

Two stories from our cruise were featured on the Department of Defense website: one introducing the ship and the other describing some of the research facilities on the R/V Sally Ride.  Below you can also check out the video from ONR’s YouTube channelKPBS story also features nice videos of the ship.  And last but certainly not least, it is worth noting that this was a student-led cruise, one of many reasons Scripps is a wonderful place to get your oceanography degree!


Sound ecology is cool, even in German

Some of the recordings that we have collected over the years have been featured in a large article on sound ecology that came out in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. If you can read German, the story provides an overview on sounds and their importance in different environments.  My favorite part is the map with links to different locations where cool sounds were recorded, so even if you don’t speak any German, it may be fun to poke around and see what fun sounds you can find.

We are getting new equipment!

The Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) grants for this year have been announced and we are excited to be among the eight SIO researchers who will be receiving this year’s awards!  The acoustic mooring we will be developing will augment the acoustic recording abilities of the Marine Bioacoustics Lab and allow us to start conducting concurrent cetacean-prey studies in collaboration with the Behavioral Acoustic Ecology Lab at SIO. The mooring will consist of a passive acoustic recorder, two active acoustic systems, and two conductivity-temperature-depth recorders. It will enable collection of long-term concurrent data on marine mammal presence and behavior in relation to prey and environmental features and allow us to expand the studies of baleen whale habitat use that we’ve been conducting in Southern California.

The news on blue and fin whales spreads

blue_blowhole2_RAGWe recently published a paper in the journal Endangered Species Research on blue and fin whale distribution trends in Southern California Bight based on the analysis of seven years of passive acoustic recordings. It was exciting to find that our acoustic trends are matching visual trends in these populations; it opens the doors to using acoustics for studying population trends for these highly vocal species. The news got picked up by Environmental Monitor, a news outlet for environmental professionals.  You can read their take on it, and see more of our cool photos here.

We found North Pacific right whales!

In collaboration with the Scripps Whale Acoustics Lab, we have been working on monitoring parts of the US Navy ranges along the West Coast.  For years, we have been scanning the data collected off Washington and in the Gulf of Alaska looking for any evidence of North Pacific right whales, but given their very very low numbers, we were aware the chance of finding them was exceedingly small.  The excitement when we actually did find them was certainly worth the years of effort!  Our story is featured in this month’s (February 2015) explorations now, so read more there.  The article is published in Marine Mammal Science.

ExplorOcean adventure

It is always fun to share ocean sounds with the general public, an it’s even better when done in person, which I had an opportunity to do at ExplorOcean as guest speaker in their lecture series.  It was a fun crowd, good questions, and I even learned a few things about sailing, 3D printing, and sea lion dock problems along the way.  A story about the event appeared in the local media; it looks like Newport Beach likes their ocean stories.  Thanks for the invite Tom and Leah!

Interview for “Science Insider” with David Freeman

bocaccioDavid Freeman, senior science editor for the Huff Post and radio host for the science show “Science Insider,” was tired of the East Coast winter and while he was warming up in sunny San Diego, he came to Scripps for a chat.  Here is the podcast of our conversation that was broadcast on WHDD Robin Hood (local Connecticut NPR station), covering topics such as ocean noise, bioacoustic research, and the fact that yes, fish make sounds too!

scripps oceanography uc san diego