With the installation of four underwater recording devices in Glacier Bay on April 30th, the 2016 Acoustic Spyglass Project has begun! The research team, led by graduate students Michelle Fournet (Oregon State University) and Leanna Mathews (Syracuse University) and assisted by the cheerful crew of the MV Lite Weight and Glacier Bay whale biologist Chris Gabriele, braved the worsening weather and got the job done in fine style. Thanks to NPS boat captain Fritz Koschman for getting us home just as the winds kicked up. The recorders (red and green cylinder in photo) will remain on the seafloor, listening to everything that the waters of Beardslee Entrance have to say until October 2016. Michelle Fournet (in photo foreground) wrote eloquently about this trip, and the previous attempt to install the equipment in early April (who said marine science was easy?) in her blog: https://mfournet.wordpress.com
The purpose of the research, funded by the NPS Alaska Region's Coastal Marine Grant program, is to better understand how harbor seals and humpback whales use their vocalizations to communicate, and how they may change those vocalizations in the presence of underwater noise created by vessels. For examples of these sounds and many more, visit https://www.nps.gov/glba/learn/nature/soundclips.htm
Previous Currents posts described our 2015 efforts on this project, and future ones will reveal future adventures and research findings.