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Destination Moku o Loʻe: Applying Innovative Technologies in Marine Science

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

Written by Fabien Vivier

Early May we had the pleasure to welcome 13 international participants for the first “Applying Innovative Technologies in Marine Science” Summer Program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Applicants who attended the one-month intensive course came from Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Malaysia, Canada, the UK, the Philippines, the Galapagos and the USA.

Group photo of participants, teaching assistants and Lars Bejder

Participants first had the opportunity to attend lectures from a range of professionals about the use of new technologies in marine science. For the second part of the class, participants were exposed to three independent one-week modules:

- Remote sensing imagery led by Elizabeth Madin

- Unoccupied Aerial System (UAS) photogrammetry for marine mammals led by Lars Bejder

- Reef geometry led by Joshua Madin

In the marine mammal module, participants were introduced to the basic principles and analysis of UAS photogrammetry in marine mammals, more specifically on individual body condition and population health assessment. Participants had the opportunity to assist and collect data at Dolphin Quest Oahu as part of Fabien Vivier’s PhD collaborative project with NOAA. On the last two days of the module, participants were given a series of aerial images from four different species of whales and dolphins (southern right whales (Eubalaena australis), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)) for them to process and estimate animals' length and volume.

At the end of the module, students compared and discussed their body condition estimate findings across species as well as the potential ecological impacts environmental shifts might have on these species.

Length and width measurements of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

This month was enriching both for the participants and MMRP/HIMB. It was a wonderful opportunity to exchange with all participants from different cultures and with various backgrounds. We are looking forward to the 2020 edition.

Please visit the participants' National Geographic ocean explorer page to read their blogs. You can also watch their summary videos here on Youtube.

Funding provided by Dr. Peter Castro and the Edwin Pauley Foundation.


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